Sub $200 PCI Express Graphics Card Showdown

Far Cry

Here, we see some truly playable frame rates for a first person shooter on all cards, even at 1280x1024 resolution with a good measure of anti-aliasing.

What we also see is one of the reasons people are having such a hard time deciding which of these three cards is the best. Raw frame rates are so close that it's hardly worth mentioning any difference.

The X850 XT flexes its muscles a little and gets a slight bump over the other competitors with 4xAA (Dark grey bar) and 4x Adaptive AA (yellow bar) enabled. On the other hand, once HDR is enabled, the X850 XT can't even compete, as in Oblivion. The 7600 GT bests the X1800 GTO with a mere five frame-per-second spread, about 11%.

Let's see if going to 1600x1200 resolution changes anything.

Apparently, there are no chinks in anyone's armor at 1600x1200, just a lower frame rate. The X850 XT sports the highest frame rates with anti-aliasing, but at best it's a nine frame-per-second spread to the next nearest competitor, and at 46 and 55 frames per second, that's not much. With HDR enabled and the X850 XT out of the running, the 7600 GT and X1800 GTO are neck and neck again: there's only about a two frame per second difference, hardly enough to call any card the victor here, because it's on the edge of unplayable.

Let's have a look at the one game in our benchmarking suite where the X850 XT can enable HDR: Half Life 2: Aftermath.