Which GPU’s cripple during STALKER: Clear Sky?
Graphically speaking, Clear Sky is not entirely new. The X-Ray engine that powered Shadow of Chernobyl has returned to give us Clear Sky, but with some added features. The game is still very scalable on low-end hardware, but has also been upgraded to scale with high-end hardware. Some of the new features include “Sun Rays” / ?God Rays?, wet surfaces, volumetric light and smoke, depth of field blurring, and screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) lighting. Two of the new features: volumetric smoke and wet surfaces require the use of the DirectX 10 API included with Windows Vista, and is supported by NVIDIA video cards since the GeForce 8800 series and AMD video cards since the Radeon HD 2000 series.
We will state right up front here that DirectX 10 does represent a clear and persistent improvement in the visual quality of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky if you have the horsepower to enable it. The trouble, which we will see later in this article, is that there are some serious performance issues with the DirectX 10 version of the game.