|- 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.
There you have it folks, there's much more coming tomorrow.
AnandTech did not mention anything about the Detonator 50 drivers which are promised to give big improvement in DirectX9.
ExtremeTech has also made an article about Half Life 2, with benchmarks provided by Valve. They do mention the Det50 drivers :
nVidia has been circulating its Det50 driver to analysts in hopes that we would use it for our Half-Life 2 benchmarking. The driver contains application-specific optimizations that will likely improve nVidia's overall performance picture, however Valve's Gabe Newell expressed concerns that some of nVidia's optimizations may go too far. Doug Lombardi of Valve has explicitly asked that beta versions of the Det50 drivers not be used for benchmarking.A very confusing situation, do the Det50 drivers (which are totally reprogrammed from zero) still contain optimizations? Or is this just exaggerated by ATI and Valve because they have a good relation with each other? Within a few days/weeks we will hopefully know it.. Here is one of the benchmarks from ExtremeTech :
Source : AnandTech and ExtremeTech