Although the low quality visual settings may not be all that pretty, they do allow users with reasonably low-end graphics cards to play Company of Heroes. Take the Radeon X1300 Pro which is hardly a gaming solution. Using the low-quality visual settings the X1300 Pro rendered an average of 60fps at 1024x768. The VisionTek Radeon X1300 (PCI) card was unfortunately unable to deliver playable performance in Company of Heroes. Those using a Radeon X1600XT or anything faster can easily play Company of Heroes at 1600x1200 with low-quality visuals. The X1900GT, X1900XT and X1900XTX all rendered well over 100fps on average at 1600x1200, which clearly suggests these graphics cards will be able to handle much better visual settings.
The medium quality settings only reduce performance ever so slightly when compared to the low quality results. This is because shadows and anti-aliasing are still disabled and these really hurt performance. The Radeon X1600XT was still able to deliver playable performance at 1600x1200, while the Radeon X1300 Pro did well at 1024x768 and quite well at 1280x1024. The other performance orientated graphics cards did exceptionally well with the medium quality graphic settings enabled.
Being the demanding game that it is, Company of Heroes really gives even the latest graphics cards a hard time with maximum in-game visuals enabled. The Radeon X1900XT for example only delivered playable performance at 1280x1024. At 1600x1200 an average frame rate of 29fps is getting a little too low for smooth gameplay. Nevertheless, at 1280x1024 with all the visual settings set to their maximum value, Company of Heroes really does look spectacular. The X1900GT was limited to 1024x768 as was the X850 Pro, while the X1600XT and anything below were unable to offer playable performance.