Today we bring you part two of our three part series on benchmarking using the Source Engine. Today we use Valve’s Source Engine Stress Test to show how ATI and NVIDIA’s high-end and mid-ranged cards will perform in Half-Life 2. Also included are benchmarks with NVIDIA’s beta 65.62 drivers.

Introduction:

A few days ago, I published a
Counter-Strike: Source performance article showcasing NVIDIA and ATI’s latest generation graphics cards using FRAPS and a custom-made demo. I mentioned that Valve was working on a benchmarking program and last night, anyone with a copy of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero or a Half-Life 2 ATI coupon was able to use Valve’s Source Engine Stress Test as well as play Counter-Strike: Source online.

Our Counter-Strike: Source benchmarks from Tuesday used real-world gameplay, and we saw that Counter-Strike: Source ran very well on both NVIDIA and ATI’s hardware. After further research, we found out that Counter-Strike: Source does not use many of the effects or shaders the Source Engine offers, the effects and shaders we’ll be seeing with Half-Life 2.

The Half-Life 2 stress test is really just a quick timedemo that runs through an E3 demo we saw in 2003. In the demo are many of the Source Engine’s special effects, including bump-mapping, sub-divided surfaces and light blooming. I’ve also received a lot of email regarding NVIDIA’s leaked 65.62 Forceware drivers, so I will be including benchmarks with those as well.