Stalker Clear Sky: Patch 1.5.08 accelerates Geforces
Better performance just with a patch sounds like a fairy tale? The update 1.5.08 does the trick. If you have a fast Geforce you can get a slight fps benefit and the visual quality stays almost the same.
Stalker Clear Sky: Patch 1.5.08 - Overview
Only in DirectX 10/10.1 mode Stalker Clear Sky allows (Transparency) Multisample Anti Aliasing without hacks. Because of the X-Ray Engine's Deferred Renderer this is only possible with a Geforce 8 or better in DX9 mode. But Stalker Clear Sky had been one of the first games that were made DX10.1 compatible via patch. Thus the quality of the Alpha Texture smoothing was increased at a higher speed compared to DirectX 10.
According to the Change Log the current patch (Download v1.5.08) just fixes some bugs related to the multiplayer part, but when taking a closer look the differences to version 1.5.07 are bigger than expected. The developers at GSC Gameworld upgraded the X-Ray Engine resulting in a slightly worse LOD (Level of Detail) and a performance boost for Geforce graphics cards.
Stalker Clear Sky: Patch 1.5.08 - Visual Quality compared
The first of the two comparisons below (Attention: Screenshot details only) shows the differences between version 1.5.07 and 1.5.08. With the current patch Stalker Clear Sky renders some kind of banding which is surrounding the player at a certain distance. Thus the graphics became slightly worse but from a subjective point of view Stalker Clear Sky also streamed a little less. The second comparison shows the still superior Alpha Tests in DX 10.1 mode on a Radeon HD 4000. Take a closer look at the bushes and trees.
Stalker Clear Sky: Patch 1.5.08 - Benchmarks
Up to now Stalker was regarded to be Radeon territory, but with Patch 1.5.08 things are changing and the Geforces are favored - although the relevant benefits are limited to very fast cards like the GTX 285 and Anti Aliasing. At lower resolutions and with lower settings even weaker cards gain a little speed. AMD's Radeons on the other hand remain static and furthermore the multi-core optimizations of the DX10 workload don't work with the Catalyst 9.2 WHQL - those accelerated Stalker Clear Sky with the 8.12 Hotfix. We have contacted AMD about the matter and they said that they are already working on a solution with GSC Gameworld.
Stalker Clear Sky: Patch 1.5.08 - Conclusion
Better performance for owners of a fast Geforce, especially with Anti Aliasing, is quite good news. The obviously modified LOD spears a little strange though, but is applied on Radeons and Geforces and from a subjective point of view it decreases lags caused by data streaming. While the Radeons are now a little behind in performance matters their visual quality with active TMSAA is still better. But as with the Geforces you need a very fast graphics card to benefit.
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