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Editor: Julio Franco

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Benchmarks: Ultra High

First up we have 20 graphics cards that have been tested using the Ultra High quality settings at 1280x1024, and we have to say the results are surprising. The GeForce GTX 280 pumped out 67fps, while the GTX 260 was also impressive managing to average 58fps. The Radeon HD 4800 series also worked hard and did well despite of the less stellar results as the Radeon HD 4870 X2 reached 54fps, the 1GB Radeon HD 4870 pushing 52fps, followed by the 512MB version with 49fps.

Now for the most impressive stuff, not only the top guns did well, but the mid-range graphics cards provided highly playable performance, too. Take the GeForce 9800 GTX+ for example, which squeezed out an average of 44fps along with the Radeon HD 4850 using the highest possible visual quality settings. The older GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS cards also managed 42fps, while the ultra cheap 9800 GT still broke the 40fps barrier.

The previous generation dual-GPU cards were a little unimpressive managing around 40fps. The bargain basement cards struggled with the Ultra High quality settings at this low resolution, with the Radeon HD 3850 managing just 32fps and the HD 4670 with 30fps.

As one would expect, increasing the resolution from 1280x1024 to 1680x1050 did shave off a little bit of performance. The GeForce GTX 280 dropped 10% from the previous result, while the Radeon HD 4850 became 16% slower. Still, using the Ultra High settings the sub-$200 Radeon HD 4850 managed to average 37fps. Those using its bigger brother the Radeon HD 4870 can expect around 42fps, and if they have the 1GB version this figure can increase by as much as 17% which is amazing (and justifies the little extra you pay for the added memory).

Now at the far end of the scale we are testing at 1920x1200, still using the Ultra High quality settings. Here the GeForce GTX 280 remains impressive averaging 55fps, while the Radeon HD 4870 X2 does very well averaging 52fps. Clearly AMD still has some work to do with their Crossfire technology and drivers in Far Cry 2 considering that the Radeon HD 4870 X2 was just 15% faster than a single 1GB Radeon HD 4870.

The single 1GB Radeon HD 4870 was also able to deliver highly playable performance at 45fps.

When we originally reviewed the 1GB version of the Radeon HD 4870 we didn't find it to be all that fruitful. However, Far Cry 2 has evidenced a clear advantage on top of its 512MB sibling which was 25% slower.

The mid-range cards struggled a little at 1920x1200 using these extreme settings, though the performance is comparable to that of a high-end graphics card in Crysis using similar quality settings. The GeForce 9600 GT managed to average 27fps, and while this is not exactly within the realms of perfectly playable performance, it is impressive for this kind of graphics nonetheless.