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The fans of the world famous post-apocalyptic Fallout series have finally got what they have been waiting for – the third part of the game. Since it was created using contemporary graphics technologies, it makes sense to find out what the owners of graphics cards from different price segments can hope to get in Fallout 3 game in terms of performance and image quality.

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Originally we had planned on doing a rather quick Far Cry 2 performance article, as the game has been anticipated for quite some time and we like to keep our benchmarks up to date with the latest and greatest titles. Unfortunately we hit some snags along the way. We've finally got all the data we can pull together ready to go, and there is quite a bit of it. Despite some issues that precluded us obtaining all the data we wanted, we do have an interesting picture of Far Cry 2 performance.

Because of the inclusion of a very robust and useful benchmarking tool, the process of collecting the data was greatly eased. Unfortunately, the benchmark tool was a bit unstable, which did mean lots of babysitting. But other than that, it was still a much nicer process to benchmark Far Cry 2 than most other games. The tool not only helps with running the benchmark, but it does a great job of collecting data. Lots of data. But we'll get to all that in a bit.

By now, many people know about the AMD driver issues that have plagued their Far Cry 2 performance and consistency. We were unable to test CrossFire because of driver issues. We didn't do a full SLI analysis because there isn't much to compare it against, but we did include two SLI configurations in order to help illustrate the potential scaling we could see from other SLI setups and to give us a target to hope CrossFire eventually hits (when it works). It is worth noting that this is the kind of issue that really damages AMD's credibility with respect to going single card CrossFire on the high end. We absolutely support their strategy, but they have simply got to execute. This type of a fumble is simply unacceptable.

Our line up tests will be an analysis of Far Cry 2 performance running with High, Very High and Ultra Quality with and without AA under DX9 and DX10. After we take a look at that we'll drill down into Ultra High quality DX10 performance and look at AMD and NVIDIA performance from top to bottom. We will touch on both built in and custom demo performance and 4xAA as well.

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<p><font size="2">When it comes to games, the line between realism and fantasy slices nearly every genre into two parts. While each while each section is rarely the other's equivalent, gamers often tend to gravitate toward one or the other. This raises a few questions. Would you rather wield a knife or a flaming samurai sword? Would you rather explore an office complex with a flashlight or dungeon catacombs with a lantern? Closer to the game at hand, would you rather your vehicle catch twenty feet of air or a thousand? The good folks at the newly coined Black Rock Studios show us what side they're on by taking the fantastical approach to off-road racing with <em>PURE</em>, a freestyle ATV racer whose focus is on frantic speed and exaggerated aerial acrobatics.<br /> <br /> In a world where new IPs are few and far between, it's always nice to see a fresh new title rise up among those with a number 2, 3 or 4 in them. While <em>PURE's</em> style of gameplay isn't anything we haven't seen before, it certainly puts its best foot forward at being the best in its class. So, what exactly is its class?<br /> </font><em><br /> <font size="2">PURE</font></em><font size="2"> finds its footing among off-road racing games like <em>MotorStorm</em> and <em>DiRT</em>, with trick pulling elements that are more reminiscent of snowboarding or skateboarding games like <em>SSX</em> or <em>Tony Hawk</em> respectively. As in all racing games, speed is definitely on the agenda. However, only a combination of speed and freestyle stunts will put players in the winner's circle.</font></p> <p><font size="2"><a href="http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3419">Read more...<!-- google_ad_section_end --></a></font></p>

If you are a staunch PC gamer who's never owned a console, a single question may be entering your mind as you read this. What the heck is Mercenaries 2? This is a legitimate question being that the game is a sequel to a title that was never released on the PC platform. Even so, you may be familiar with its developer, Pandemic Studios, whose accolades include Full Spectrum Warrior and the Star Wars Battlefront series. Pandemic also takes the credit for Destroy All Humans!, but has ended their involvement with the popular series in order to bring us The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, an action/adventure title spun from Tolkien's books due for release on PC and consoles this November.

To clue in the unfamiliar, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction was a noteworthy console title when it was released on the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 in early 2005. The game is best described as a war torn Grand Theft Auto. Like many games that took on the sandbox style of gameplay made famous by the series, Mercenaries aimed to take it a step further, touting gamers' ability to "go anywhere, destroy anything, and blow the crap out of everything" right on the box. Following suit, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames continues its claim to no-holds-barred destruction, this time with a PC version to accompany those for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 2.

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<p itxtvisited="1"><font size="2">While NVIDIA, ATI and manufacturers like EVGA offered proprietary software control of their graphics products over the years, manufacturer endorsed voltage adjustments have been missing for GPUs. In the past, third party programs like ATI Tool fulfilled this role for supported ATI cards, while NVIDIA users have been left to hard mod their cards with potentiometers or pencils or other things that go bump in the night &ndash; thus voiding the card's warranty. ASUS figured direct manipulation of GPU voltages would be a unique market opportunity for an ODM. So ASUS is introducing a new line of graphics cards featuring a new software tool; together these will be known as <strong itxtvisited="1">MATRIX</strong>. We think it will be a pleasant change to drop the need for two or three separate programs just to get granular level of control over a graphics card. We hope MATRIX offers just that when it is released this month.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=490">Read more...</a></font></p>
<font size="2">Based on WebKit, the same foundation for Apple&rsquo;s Safari web browser - yesterday Google introduced Chrome, it&rsquo;s own browser. It&rsquo;s been a while since we&rsquo;ve had a brand new, completely unexpected Google launch and what better way to change that than by launching a damn web browser?<br /> <br /> Despite how often Google is viewed as competing with Microsoft, these days it&rsquo;s acting very Apple-like. Android has the potential to bring to the masses much of what Apple did with the iPhone, and Apple&rsquo;s MobileMe (albeit mismanaged and poorly launched) is one step away from being a costly Google Apps competitor. The browser step for Google is an interesting one, yet of all of the browser companies Google is the most natural fit - it&rsquo;s almost surprising that Google hadn&rsquo;t released a browser by now.<br /> <br /> What follows are my thoughts on Chrome.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3398">Read more...</a></font>

08 Aug 2008 - Race Driver: GRID

In June of this year, Codemasters released yet another game devoted to fans of those things that have four wheels. With extensive experience in the genre, starting with 1999's Touring Car Challenge to the highly acclaimed DiRT: Colin McRae Off-Road released in 2007, the developer/publisher continues to pick up speed with GRID. GRID is not your typical rally style racer, nor is it the street racer that many might label it after seeing a few screenshots of the game. Instead, GRID borrows from both racing styles and finds its niche somewhere in between. Does it work? Read on to find out.

Upon starting the game for the first time, players will be prompted to enter their first and last name that will appear in the game's HUD next to your position in the race. To take this a step further, GRID allows you to choose from a fairly extensive list of names (male and female) that the in-game announcer will use during audible communication with the player. While the name Eddie was not immediately available, Edward was chosen in its stead. Since it's highly unlikely that they will have every name, you can also select from a variety of handles instead. This is just one successful implementation that lends itself to the player's immersive experience with GRID. Once this information is squared away, the game immediately tosses the player to the wolves with no available tutorial.

As most PC gamers have discovered, racing games offering a high level of realism are best played with either a racing wheel or a gamepad. With controls that require touch sensitivity, a keyboard simply does not allow for the degree of functionality that is required. In fact, getting the game to function at all with the coveted combo may prove to be an impossible feat. With this in mind, recommended racing wheel peripherals include the Logitech Formula Force EX, which is available in the UK for a retail price of £49.99, and the Logitech MOMO Force Feedback Racing Wheel available in the states for around $79.99 depending on the retailer.  And, of course, there's always the more expensive option for those without a budget.  In this case, the Logitech G25 that retails for upwards of $250, again depending on the retailer, might be the wheel of choice.  Which ever wheel you choose, the game's options menu will help you tweak its sensitivity to your satisfaction.

While steering wheels are great, the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows has a preset in the game's options menu and it works very well. This controller is an excellent alternative to racing wheels and offers great performance with GRID. Third party gamepads are also supported and should work seamlessly.

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<p class="description" itxtvisited="1"><font size="2">We will review and test three graphics cards from two vendors, and will introduce some new benchmarks. Read our review to find out more about GeForce 9800 GTX from Chaintech.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/chaintech-apogee-gf9800gtx.html">Read more...</a></font></p>

In this article we are going to discuss seven power supply units from Antec that can be purchased separately and also come bundled with the system cases we have tested earlier. Besides that we will also measure how much power a contemporary computer actually needs…

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26 Jun 2008 - Games Missing In Action

Have you ever read about an upcoming game that sounded exciting, but then you lost enthusiasm due to the lack of updates that followed? Maybe you didn't even recognize it at the time, because the game just faded from your consciousness. Like many gamers, I like to follow the progress of games I'm excited about from development to release. I enjoy watching all the informative developer interview videos along the way, but when all publicly released progress is nonexistent, you have to wonder what the heck is going on with these games. A lack of progress or information can also lead to games being canned as interest appears to wane.

With that said, I'd like to bring to light a number of games whose presence has simply fallen off the face of the earth since their initial announcement. Some of these may be more familiar, but we're avoiding the most noteworthy titles that "everyone" already knows about. (Yes, Duke, I'm talking about you!) As always, I am platform agnostic, so the following titles may be for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, or some combination of those.

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