Half Life 2 and Graphics Hardware

Dave Salvator was at the ATI shader event, where Gabe Newell talked about Half-Life 2 performance on various hardware. Pretty interesting stuff.

This doesn’t particularily shock me. ATI’s been the underdog for so long it was just a matter of time before a combination of laziness and bad luck hit nVidia and they’d slip. Give it two years and if they’re both around, maybe Nvidia will be back on top.

For the time being though, this means I need to look into hawking my 4200 and getting a 9500 Pro.

These benchmarks are only parroting what the synthetics have been showing all along: the FX boards are not good DX9 cards, even the $400+ ones. So why did Nvidia quit FutureMark’s beta program and begin their “it’s all about the games [which we expected to use DX8 until we could get NV40 done] PR/marketing shift” again? Hmmm. . . .

Here’s hoping Nvidia does much better with NV40.

Meh who cares. Since valve has decided to go insane and require net access for lan play and reportedly single player as well, HL2 has dropped off my list of must haves. That or I’m just a bitter gf4 owner…

I think this Steam thing is going to ruin the Half Life community. Part of Half Life’s popularity WAS because it was easy to mod and hack. Steam seems to prevent ease of modding/hacking. Though, maybe I’m just being cynical… yeah HL2 will rock supposedly.


I believe this only applies if you buy through Steam. The way I read this, it doesn’t apply to the retail version. Of course, by the time we get to Team Fortress II, that may require Steam…

I believe this only applies if you buy through Steam. The way I read this, it doesn’t apply to the retail version. Of course, by the time we get to Team Fortress II, that may require Steam…[/quote]

Which makes sense, because the game is getting streamed to you when you buy the Steam version, not downloaded as a complete digital copy on your hard drive. That makes copy protection too difficult, I imagine.

No, I get that it requires net access if its bought via steam etc. but what some of the confusion is, that as soon as anyone who bought a store copy logs on and updates/plays multiplayer, their copy becomes “steam” active or whatever and requires a cd-key check with steam any time I fire up the game for single player or lan. Theres even a petition about it: http://www.petitiononline.com/HL2/petition.html

I’d post the link but steampowered.com is offline at the moment.

Neat new Source HDR lighting video popping up on the net:


WTF! This must be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Not everyone has broadband, nor does everyone have the ability to run the 'net whenever they want to play SP/LAN. Modem users will be thouroghly fucked by this move.

Just watched the tech demo that was released today. Very impressive, but the reflective surfaces are extremely reflective. Ever been on a dingy tin roof and had a reflection that bordered on glare?

nVidia’ actually sent out a press release today whining about Valve not using their fancy new v.50 Detonators drivers and proclaiming the tests completely invalid. I have trouble believing drivers can fix the fact that the NV3X chips have half the Pixel shading units of the R3XX GPUs. But I guess you’ve got to do something when your top of the line, $400 gets spanked by ATI’s value line at less then half the price. And doesn’t the 9600 half the pixel units as the 9800 too? Still hands the 5900 it’s ass. Remember when nVidia’s excuse for the 5800 and 5900 was that these were super-duper at DX9 so the DX7 games and becnhmarks didn’t accurately represent their prowess? Funny how that doesn’t seem to be the case when DX9 games and benches actually appear.

Where’s a fanboy to tell me to wait for the NV40?

The funny thing is that Gabe came right out and told them why they hadn’t used the D50’s. Nvidia has, in the past, doctored their “beta” drivers to work better with the latest games and then never actually released those betas to the public (likely because they’d suck for general use and were written just for a specific benchmark).

It seems like the main problem here is nv’s pixel shaders, which are hardware and not fixable with new drivers. Glad I’ve got an ATI card.

Oh yeah, great article about this at The Tech Report today.

That’s bizarre. I can see the URL you when I quote you, but couldn’t see it in the post. http://www.tech-report.com/etc/2003q3/hl2bench/index.x?pg=1 , by the way.

Yeah, the URL tag seems to be broken. It happened in another thread, too.


Oh weird. Thanks, quatoria. Anyway, I meant to link to this article: http://www.tech-report.com/etc/2003q3/valve/index.x?pg=1, but they’re both good.

When is the NV40 scheduled to come out? NVIDIA would be in another hole if they didn’t have a part out that could play HAlf Life 2 properly for 6 months. Ati already got that type of jump when NVIDIA tried to abandon the .15 boards.

edit: Out of curiosity, what’s going on at NVIDIA? Did key people leave? Is it really just hubris (seems a little melodramatic to me)? Did waiting to go to .13 really mess them up that badly?

Honestly, new Nvidia architectures have always been great performers with the former DX version, with the new part offering advanced features for developers to play with but not being that great in their performance with them. If that makes sense. And this holds true with the FX boards, which will be great with a game like Doom 3 that relies almost entirely on DX7-class features. Nvidia is just in a pickle with DX9 games until they can get new hardware out that isn’t based on the NV3x architecture.

Yeah, but if you looked at Gabe’s slides, even running DX8 only the Nvidia cards performed worse than the ATI cards running DX9.