F.E.A.R. (or First Encounter Assault Recon) is a one of the newer entrants to our game benchmark suite, and it features jaw-dropping graphics, a killer Matrix-like "reflex time" feature, and a physics engine that can bring any system to its knees. This Monolith production includes a wide selection of System and Video settings, along with an in-game testing module to keep things 100% comparable between different graphics cards. In this case, as we are dealing with video card performance, so we have racked the computer and graphics settings to high (max only increases AF and AA) and then testing at the different resolutions.
F.E.A.R. is one of the most demanding game benchmarks in our entire suite, and its overall design rewards both pure graphics performance and an SM 2.0/3.0 feature set.
The Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB card offers some good scores here, but nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not displaying class-leading performance. It still falls slightly behind the GeForce 7600 GT, while not even coming close to the GeForce 8600 GTS.
F.E.A.R. AA and AF Widescreen Performance
Once we transition to 4X AA and 8X AF widescreen detail settings, all of the cards drop back considerably, and the memory bandwidth definitely comes into play, knocking the GeForce 8600 GTS for a loop. The Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB does better in relative terms, slipping by the GeForce 7600 GS, but now it's behind the Radeon X1650 XT.
Company of Heroes Performance
Company of Heroes is one of the more recent addition to our game benchmark suite, and true to form, it offers one of the most demanding benchmark environments ever. CoH is a WW2 real-time strategy game, which again provides us with a nice change of pace from the usual FPS benchmark. To give the video cards an even tougher time, we have enabled SM3.0, and set every available graphics option to High.
Company of Heroes is another very demanding game benchmark, and this is an area where the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB really shines. The Sapphire card manages to outperform both the GeForce 8600 GTS and 7900 GS, while taking a back seat to only the still-powerful Radeon X1950 Pro.
Company of Heroes AA and AF Widescreen Performance
It is the same story when we move to the widescreen/higher detail settings, and the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB again finishes a close second to the Radeon X1950 Pro.