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Thread: HalfLife 2 : ATi is the only route...

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    HalfLife 2 : ATi is the only route...

    - Valve is pissed at all of the benchmarking "optimizations" they've seen in the hardware community;
    - Half-Life 2 has a special NV3x codepath that was necessary to make NVIDIA's architecture perform reasonably under the game;
    - Valve recommends running geforce fx 5200 and 5600 cards in dx8 mode in order to get playable frame rates.
    - even with the special NV3x codepath, ATI is the clear performance leader under Half-Life 2 with the Radeon 9800 Pro hitting around 60 fps at 10x7. The 5900 ultra is noticeably slower with the special codepath and is horrendously slower under the default dx9 codepath;
    - the Radeon 9600 Pro performs very well - it is a good competitor of the 5900 ultra;
    - ATI didn't need these special optimizations to perform well and Valve insists that they have not optimized the game specifically for any vendor.
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1862

    and

    TECH REPORT'S just-published summary of Valve's Half-Life 2 presentation at an ATI function is nothing short of grim when it comes to the company's projections of how Half-Life 2 will perform on Nvidia DX9-class hardware. While a certain amount of Radeon-push / GeForce FX-bashing can be expected - this is, after all, an ATI-sponsored event - there are differences to the marketing-speak that demonstrate just how serious the NV3X problems are. You'd normally expect lots of presentations filled with statements like: "ATI is a superior platform for our game", not graphs showing ATI hardware pulling no less then double the frame rate of Nvidia's best, to say nothing of slide after slide discussing the problem.
    As one of the first (and certainly one of the most-awaited) fully DirectX 9 games, Half-Life 2 will be one of the biggest hits of the year and will serve as a technology demo and benchmark for years to come. The new Half-Life 2 engine will doubtlessly be used in other games; implying that the problems Valve is having with Nvidia's DX9 hardware may reoccur repeatedly, especially if they are not particularly unique to the Half-Life 2 engine—and we're inclined to think they aren't.

    While it was no secret to anyone that NV30 performance wasn't all that great, NV35 is looking increasingly leaky as things go by. First we had the 3DMark 2003 controversy (where Nvidia's poor Pixel 2.0 performance first came to light). A lot of people actually blamed this one on a bad benchmark on FutureMark's part, and considering that 3DMark '03 isn't actually built on a game engine, that criticism had some teeth.

    Then some enterprising MIT youngsters found a way to get Nvidia's very impressive "Dawn" demo running on ATI hardware (a supposedly "impossible" feat according to Nvidia) only to find that it actually ran faster under ATI's hardware than Nvidia's. Bring on the driver issues, optimization problems, 3DCenter's recent in-depth focus on NV3X hardware, and now this, and the tide of evidence is turning very much against Nvidia. Its not clear why the NV30 series has the problems that it does, but its clear that either FutureMark and Valve are in close cahoots to make Nvidia look bad, or there are serious architectural problems with NV30 and 35 that keep them from performing well. While some fanboys will no doubt jump for the former, an objective look at the data points more towards the latter.

    Just how bad are things? Pretty bad. Even the Radeon 9600 Pro out-paces the GF FX by over 50%, while the Radeon 9800 Pro doubles the FX's feeble 30 fps. These are in benchmarks without AA or AF enabled. The game isn't even playable on anything below an FX 5900.

    What about Nvidia's claim that the FX benefits dramatically from optimized code? It might be true, but it won't save the situation. While GF FX 5900 Ultra performance did increase a fair amount from optimization, the 5200 and 5600 are still completely unplayable and barely benefited—though this may be because these two designs are, in fact, based upon the even-worse-performing 5800 Ultra design. This isn't really a solution either, since it took Valve 5 times as long to code the Nvidia specific data as the general DX9 path. Valve's solution at the moment? Run the GF FX series as a DX8 part. Of course this means giving up all the DX9 eye-candy, but eye-candy isn't really useful when you can't play the damn game.

    With Half-Life 2 scheduled to ship before NV40, it looks like there's no getting around the fact that ATI is the only game in town when it comes to HL2. As for Nvidia, NV40 had better bring substantial performance increases—or its going to get real ugly in the graphics war.
    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=11492

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    DR
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    All I can say is lets hope Det50s are more than gods gift to computers since without it NVIDIA may well struggle- at the moment the ATi card //is// the HL2 card.

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    Ha, all you nvidia fan boys suck on that !

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    The same seems to be true for Halo if this benchmark is anything to go by http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/...titans/002.htm

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    DR
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    Full benchmarks : http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/...hmarks/002.htm


    It has to be said it is down to the NV3x setup it is fundamentally flawed in the sense. The card is far to slow in 128bit, 96bit which is what DX9 needs/wants ot can't do. 64bit is not used / not industry standard. So - they have to have special relationships with EA and the like to put in special code paths

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    DR
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    Originally posted by Surgeon
    Ha, all you nvidia fan boys suck on that !
    Nice Mature, Sensible, down to earth discussion point you have done there. Infact - why don't you just get lost? These forums are for open debate not flaming - I was wondering who would be first to come out with some immature over excited teenage post.

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    Originally posted by David
    All I can say is lets hope Det50s are more than gods gift to computers since without it NVIDIA may well struggle- at the moment the ATi card //is// the HL2 card.
    Sadly I can't see NVidia improving their frame rates by 100% with the next Dets (60FPS vs 30FPS on FiringSquad)

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    Indeed, also with the license cost of the HL2 engine - 500$ for a license then you pay royalties it is going to rocket. DoomIII is a million up front.

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    Originally posted by David
    Indeed, also with the license cost of the HL2 engine - 500$ for a license then you pay royalties it is going to rocket. DoomIII is a million up front.
    OUCH!

    But then again considering the time that they have spent developing the engine, they are going to have to recoup that money some how as ID has dragged out the development of it for ages. I wouldn't be surprised if that when the game is released it flops as we've all waited soo long and all we've seen are poor ALPHA builds and screenshots
    Signature in development ... please be patient

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    It's certainly a frightening thought if HL2 flops :/

    Although its nice to see ATi take a lead, its a bit of a shame that nvidia has taking such a bad beating! (can you hear the corks popping at ati?)

    Although I'm an ATi fan, I hope the Detonator 50's can help nvidia out here... Would be a shame if people that forked out the mega bucks for the 5900Ultra to only be able to barely play the game at 1024*768.


    I suppose we can only sit back and wait.... :/

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    I love my 5900 Ultra. Really, I do..

    BMW 530i Sport | Ford Mondeo Ghia X RSAP

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    Are you pleased you invested so much money in it

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    Well my ti4400 was looking long in the tooth now any ways so I was planning on upgrading to a radeon before too long, looks like it's just confirmed that course of action
    Last edited by jcoquillon; 11-09-2003 at 12:28 PM.
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    Just watched the HL2 trailer and it rocks. It's sad for Nvidia that 5200 and 5600 can't even play at playable frame rates in DX8 mode!!! In DX9, they plain suck! Hope that Nvidia dun come out with some fake optimisations just to get the fps up.

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    I personally find it very, very worrying that the largest GFX card manufacturer in the world has released what is supposed to be a fully dx9.0 compliant card, which has then found to be, and let's be honest, complete and utter pants in full dx9.0

    I mean, how many people will have based their judgements on future proofing their current GFX on that statement? There's gonna be a lot of very pissed off people imo, and they have my sympathy.

    Feeling very lucky I bought my 9700 now.

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    Nvidia have really lost the plot, I very much doubt they can produce a significant increase in there new drivers.

    What shocked me is that Nvidia is soon to release another new card based on the NV38 chip, which they claim will give upto a 25% increase. Laughable

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