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Editor: Julio Franco

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Benchmarks: Mainstream

Now the “mainstream” or medium quality settings, which as you can see allow for significantly better frame rates.

The GeForce GTX 280 is now able to render an average of 58fps. This is a 26% increase in performance at 1440x900 compared to the “gamer” quality settings.

The Radeon HD 4870 X2 saw a massive 38% performance boost, in spite of this it was found to be slower than seven other graphics cards. Crossfire wasn't working here, as the Radeon HD 4870 X2 was a mere 1fps faster than the single-GPU Radeon HD 4870. Furthermore, this made the Radeon HD 4870 X2 just 2fps faster than the Radeon HD 3870, and 3fps slower than the GeForce 9800 GT.

It is no secret that the CryEngine 2 favors Nvidia based graphics cards. But these playable medium quality settings show the Radeon based graphics cards at a significant disadvantage, at least at 1440x900.

When increasing the resolution to 1680x1050, the GeForce GTX 280 drops just 4fps and remains the fastest tested graphics card. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 on the other hand dropped just 1fps, allowing it to overtake the GeForce 9800 GT, positioning it right behind the GeForce 8800 GTS (512MB). Still, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 is only 2 fps faster than the single-GPU Radeon HD 4870.

Using these mid-range settings at 1680x1050 allowed the GeForce GTX 280 and the GTX 260 to deliver perfectly playable performance. The Radeon HD 4870 X2, GeForce 8800 GTS, 9800 GTX, and 9800 GTX+ also delivered excellent performance. The Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce 9800 GT/8800 GT graphics cards all produced 44fps, which was reasonably playable. Then the Radeon HD 4850 managed 42fps which was borderline playable, as was the Radeon HD 3870 with an average of 40fps.

At 1920x1200 the GeForce GTX 280 drops another frame per second, hitting an average of 53 fps, while the GTX 260 dropped to 50fps.

The Radeon HD 4870 X2 follows in third place with an average of 45fps, dropping just a single frame from 1680x1050, but still showing little advantage compared to its single GPU counterpart. The Radeon HD 4850 managed to average 40fps, while the GeForce 9800 GT/8800 GT cards averaged 39fps.