Our first test today is Counter-Strike: Source running on the Half-Life 2 DirectX engine. Many people who have played Counter-Strike 1.6 perfectly fine with older computer systems are finding some difficulty transitioning to the new Counter-Strike. Even though the Half-Life 2 engine is heavily programmed to run with optimal performance for all video cards, it is still very CPU and video demanding. Is the 6200A good enough to play Source?
We recorded a five minute demo in a local server with 10 bots on de_aztec. This map has wide open areas reaching very far distances as well as water and weather effects. It is one of the more graphically intensive Counter-Strike maps. We then reran the demo with each video card and recorded the average frames per second reported in the console.
The 6200A and 9600 perform nearly the same in Counter-Strike: Source, both averaging around 65 FPS. The best setting we found to play CS:S for both the GeForce 6200A and Radeon 9600 was 800x600 32bit color, high detail settings but AA and AF turned off. Anti-aliasing is a killer on performance for all video cards, and it would be irrational to use it with the 6200 or 9600. The performance hit from anisotropic filtering is much lower, but still not very practical for a shooter like CS:S.
Doom 3 has always been an NVIDIA favorite in the press. NVIDIA's UltraShadow II technology suits Doom 3's extensive lighting and shadow effects perfectly. One of the few games which still use OpenGL, Doom 3 rivals Half-Life 2 as a game developer's engine. To test Doom 3, we ran timedemo demo1 and recorded the average framerate.
Both video cards ran best at 800x600 32bit color and medium quality. The 6200A is definitely the better performer in Doom 3 as it averages just a hair under 30 FPS, while the 9600 is hovering on a thin line between a playable framerate and an unacceptable one.
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