For years, AMD has been talking about the positive impact that 64-bit will have on games. Honestly, we never bought it; games are still a couple of years away from breaking the 2GB process limitation under present day 32-bit Windows. Despite our lack of belief, AMD still did their best to convey the message that gamers would be given a better experience in a 64-bit environment.

AMD has been demoing 64-bit versions of the Unreal engine as well as Far Cry for quite some time now, but neither were ever made public. Originally, we heard talk of 20% increases in performance due to decreased register pressure when running in 64-bit mode. We desperately wanted to see a game recompiled with 64-bit support, but alas, we needed a 64-bit OS. Last month's release of Windows XP x64 Edition fulfilled the latter requirement, but we still lacked any games to test the hype.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay actually shipped with a 64-bit binary out of the box. Unfortunately, we saw absolutely no performance improvement from using the 64-bit binary vs. the 32-bit binary in our extensive evaluation of the x64 edition OS. If performance under Riddick was any indication, 64-bit wasn't going to be much of a performance sell for gamers.

Today, however, AMD and Ubisoft are announcing public availability of the first 64-bit patch and content update to Far Cry. As we just implied, the 64-bit add-ons to Far Cry come in two separate packages. First, there's the actual 64-bit patch that installs and enables a native 64-bit binary to run under x64 edition. The second package is the AMD64 Exclusive Content Update that improves the actual content in the game.

AMD listed the changes to the 64-bit version of Far Cry as follows:
All Levels
  • Improved terrain textures
  • Increased view distance
  • Offset bump mapping added for rock and stone objects
  • More insects and birds
On the Pier Level
  • New beach road with additional vehicle
  • Barrel storage camp
  • Opened more space to explore
Pier and Boat
  • New terrain textures with shader
Two New 64-bit only Multiplayer levels
  • Stronghold
  • Gorge
As you can probably already tell, none of the additions or enhancements have anything to do with 64-bit memory addressability. In fact, a fast GPU is all you really need to take advantage of most of these features - not a 64-bit CPU. The patched version of Far Cry doesn't even eat up more than 512MB of memory during normal gameplay, and supporting more insects and birds doesn't really depend on more architecture registers provided by AMD64 either. It's no surprise that none of the enhancements offered by the 64-bit patch have anything to do with a 64-bit CPU at all, but you have to add value somehow and this is how Ubisoft and AMD decided to do it.


Far Cry doesn't use more than 512MB of memory, even with the 64-bit patches.

Both patches are scheduled to be available to gamers starting today, free of charge, but of course, you must already have a copy of Far Cry to utilize them. The patch and the exclusive content update will only install under Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, so 32-bit XP Professional users will not be able to even install the additional content patch. Despite being very tightly associated with AMD, the new Far Cry patches will work on Intel EM64T enabled systems as well.


Despite the wording of the error message, the patches will work on Intel EM64T enabled systems - just not on 32-bit processors.

The patches themselves are huge, totaling over 1.5GB in size, so be prepared for a hefty download. Even after applying the patches, you can still run the 32-bit Far Cry executable, but doing so will not give you access to the additional features or new multiplayer levels.

The Far Cry patch also acts as a no-CD crack, it appears, as we no longer had to have our play disc in the drive to play the game after applying the 64-bit patch.

64-bit Far Cry Performance
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  • Son of a N00b - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    good article anand, i loved your quick and to the point style on this one. Any qestion i had you just cleared up.

    keep it up, thats why I come here.

    If i have more questions then i read more reviews, that simple
    Reply
  • Backslider - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #9 I was refering to Far Cry not AMD.

    Their special content idea blows goats, it pisses me off royal. Their game sucks anyway, so no real loss here.

    Reply
  • robg1701 - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    Anand,

    1. Like adding a faster cpu increasing performance in tasks that werent cpu bound ? Like the A64 getting higher numbers than a GPU bound P4 with the same card at the same settings ? Odd as it seems i dont think it can be so easily ruled out.

    2. Apples to oranges it may be, but thats exactly what the existance of 64bit far cry represents just now, and is exactly how i think anyone bothering to download the patches will play it, so in bothering to do an article on it i think it ghas to be examined. Now that other articles are online, so far your the only site ive seen not do this.

    3. I didnt imply they were SM3 specific, but its a difference between the 6800 and X850, and i think re-examining their relative performance is required given we now also have a new OS, new drivers, and new game code.

    But no matter, other sites have filled the void and benchmarked what I and many others think is the sensible comparison - waht people will actually be looking for when they download a gigabyte of updates.
    Reply
  • jballs - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    [H]ard OCP reports that there are minimal diffrences in frame rates (some higher some lower) when the patch AND the additional content are applied (read conclusions). So, increased quality with no much impact on performance is always good thing. The thing that is still up in the air is what is the diffrence between 64 and 32bit processors with that additional content enabled because the game won't let you install on anything else. For all we know the performance would be the same. Reply
  • nserra - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #33 Finaly some light!!!!!

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • PottyWithElmo - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    anandtech. sorry. (refer to 31) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    nserra

    Sorry I should have been more specific - when I refer to the 64-bit version of Far Cry I am talking about both the binary patch and the content update (as both require a 64-bit OS and CPU to run).

    All of the benchmarks were done with only the first patch installed, which doesn't improve any of the features I mentioned in the image quality section.

    All of the screenshots were taken with both patches installed.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    dougSF30

    1) We don't test at 640x480 in our CPU shootouts, but I should note that the X850 XT happens to be CPU bound at 1024x768 and below.

    2) The impact of dual core on the comparison doesn't really change anything; performance would scale the same on single core CPUs.

    3) The reason for mentioning that the new content doesn't use more than 2GB of memory is because all of the enhancements to the game have nothing to do with a 64-bit CPU; you could just as easily implement any of these features on a 32-bit machine and have the same end result.

    With reference to what the patch we tested with enables, it looks like the first patch does not change any of the visual options which is why I felt comfortable making that comparison. All of the level changes are definitely made with the second patch.

    As far as the performance with the second patch applied; our default demo uses the mp_airstrip level which showed no performance difference with or without the extra content. At higher resolutions I saw some frame rate drops in certain levels but at more CPU bound resolutions there was basically no difference.

    robg1701

    1) That analysis would imply that we are GPU bound at 1024x768 in our test - which is not true.

    2) We didn't include performance numbers with the enhanced content applied simply because it wouldn't be an apples to apples comparison. The other issue with including those numbers is that the performance impact of the additional content really varies from one level to the next, as does the visual impact of the content.

    3) None of our information on the patches lead us to believe that any of the features were shader model 3.0 specific.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • PottyWithElmo - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    I believe FarCry 64bit runs more content (view distance, extra entities like bugs and birds, more complex textures) at a same or better framerate than 32bit, correct? How is this not a decent improvement over 32bit again? If, in 32bit, I turn on exra birds and bugs and increase the view distance (configure it in the game.cfg file of FCry), my framerate and performance drops significantly. This article should be torn up, new benches performed, and then rewritten. It makes no sense. It reads like its someone whose got a grudge with AMD, instead of looking at a FREE upgrade in farcry that adds extra content at a slightly better framerate! Just stick to the facts Annantech! Reply
  • nserra - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    I already dont understand a cheat!

    Anand Lal Shimpi clear this up!

    The bench was made with no extra content but the pictures are taken with the extra content or not?

    "The differences in the Pier level are numerous. First, the improvement to draw distance is very noticeable:"

    "You can see additional detail in the rock textures:"


    OR I CAN READ MR MLITTL3 #14 OR ANAND LAL SHIMPI CANT WRITE!!!!

    "And finally, the water looks a lot better in the 64-bit version:"

    then must be repleaced with

    "And finally, the water looks a lot better with the AMD64 Exclusive Content Update:"
    Reply

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