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Star Wars: Empire At War

Sub $200 PCI Express Graphics Card Showdown
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We thought we'd include a real time strategy game in the mix, so we benchmarked Lucas Arts' Star Wars: Empire at War.

The grey bar represents 1280x1024 with no AA, and the yellow bar represents 1600x1200 with maximum AA in the game settings. Interestingly enough, frame rates actually increased at the higher setting with the Radeon cards, although by such a small amount that it was probably within the margin of error. Still, with such wildly varying settings, to have identical frame rates shows that the game is clearly bottlenecked somewhere other than the graphics card. As for playability, the frame rates were so flat that the game was very playable; the frame rate never seemed to dip at all. The game seemed to favor the GeForce slightly over the Radeons.

X3 Reunion

The final game in the mix is a simulator - a space flight simulator to be exact. The graphics in X3: Reunion are simply gorgeous, so we included it so see if it would push our cards past their limits.

The grey bar represents 1280x1024 at the highest texture quality, with 4xAA plus 8xAF. All the cards were playable, but with a bit of an advantage to the Radeons.

The yellow bar represents 1600x1200, with texture quality set to medium, and 2xAA plus 4xAF. While the X1800 GTO and 7600 GT were adversely affected by the higher resolution, the X850 XT seemed to be completely unaffected by it. All things considered, however, it was just another close call with no run-away winner.

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