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Benchmarks: Ultra High
Using the ultra high quality settings we were impressed by the 1440x900 performance of some mid-range cards which was definitely a good way to start things off.
Although this is a relatively low resolution depending on how picky you are, it was impressive to find graphics cards such as the GeForce 9600 GT averaging 47fps. The Radeon HD 3870 disappointed with just 39fps on average, while the X2 version was no faster since Crossfire is not working in this game so far. Those using a Radeon HD 3870 won't be able to use the ultra high quality settings in this game either.
This also goes for Radeon HD 3850, 4670, 4650, and GeForce 9500 GT owners, as all these graphics cards rendered well under 40fps on average. Anything faster than the 9600 GT was safe at this resolution, while the high-end cards ran into some kind of bottleneck at ~60fps which was likely caused by the processor.
Naturally, increasing the resolution to a more respectable 1680x1050 hurt performance. The GeForce 9600 GT dropped to an average of 39fps, while the Radeon HD 4850 managed just 41fps. Since we like to average at least 45fps, this made the GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS the slowest graphics cards we would recommend using at this resolution using the ultra high quality settings.
The GeForce 9800 GTX+ reached 49fps, while the Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards cracked the 50fps barrier averaging 53fps. The GeForce GTX 260 was a fraction faster with 55fps, while the GTX 280 remained the fastest graphics card in Fallout 3 with an impressive 63fps.
Now at 1920x1200 we are easily able to distinguish the high performance graphics cards from the rest of the pack. Anything lower than the GeForce 9800 GTX+ would dip below the 40fps mark though this is still impressive for this card given the resolution and visual quality settings. The Radeon HD 4870 (512MB) graphics card managed 47fps, while the 1GB version hit 49fps. The GeForce GTX 260 was again a fraction faster with 50fps, which was only bettered by the GTX 280 at 57 frames per second.