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Half Life 2: Episode 2

The Fastest 3D Cards Go Head-To-Head

Half Life 2: Episode 2 runs on DirectX 9. A CrossFire configuration results in good performance increases with the AMD cards. Since the CPU and frame rates are already running at their limits when using the Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire, the frame rate improvements can only be seen at 1920x1200 with anti-aliasing turned on. The HD 4870 CrossFire loses 3D power, as the CPU and the second graphics chip slow each other down.

With Nvidia and SLI the situation is similar. The weaker graphics chips are able to increase frame rates at the higher resolutions, and the more powerful graphics cards almost all lose speed in SLI mode. The new GTX 260 and GTX 280 generate more power in single mode.

It doesn’t actually matter for playing the game—all of the current graphics cards are well over 60 fps, even with 1920x1200 pixels and anti-aliasing. Even the GeForce 8600 GT can produce 35 fps, where the Radeon HD 3650 is too slow in the 1680 and 1920 resolutions with AA.

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