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Mass Effect

The Fastest 3D Cards Go Head-To-Head
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Thanks to the UT3 Engine, Mass Effect runs in DirectX 10 mode under Vista. SLI and CrossFire run excellently at 1920x1200 pixels. With anti-aliasing turned on, a second graphics card almost doubles the frame rate. With the more powerful Nvidia models, SLI benefits are only visible as of the higher resolutions with AA. CrossFire, on the other hand, can provide a little more power even without anti-aliasing.

The GeForce 8600 has minor problems with anti-aliasing—the game may crash or freeze, and with the lower frame rate, Mass Effect is not playable. Without anti-aliasing, only the GeForce 8600 and Radeon HD 3650 are too slow. But with anti-aliasing in the higher resolutions, more cards start to run out of steam. The additional graphics memory increment—from 512 to 1,024 MB—had no effect on the 8800 GT.

In order to get the anti-aliasing to work with the Radeon HD 3000-series cards, you need to rename MassEffect.exe to Bioshock.exe. This can lead to graphics errors, but the test system and benchmark scene showed no signs of this. The new Radeon HD 4000-series doesn’t need to have this trick applied. Anti-aliasing is supported with no problems. Resolutions marked with a value of zero indicate that they did not work properly with the specified test card.

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