Since I last played it I've acquired a GeForce 6800, so I thought it'd only be fair if I installed the latest patches (which use things like GI and SM3 for better performance on the 6-series) and check out the HDR effects.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think FarCry was the first commercial game that offered a proper HDRI mode. The screenshots I saw were something special.
A couple of clipped shots I just took:
Without HDR Rendering
With HDR Rendering
Its difficult to tell from a single shot, but the colour balance looks much better ("deeper" even) with HDR enabled. I certainly prefer it.
Also, the real beauty of it doesn't really kick in until you see it in motion - all of the effects and textures look just that bit better. Despite the tone-mapping and bloom filter there are much less "washed out" dark/bright areas.
Anyway, if you're interested in real-time HDRI and have the hardware I highly recommend you check out FarCry (again).
One final note regarding my D3D memory tracker side-project: I think I'm going to set it up so the programmer has to add "check points" to the critical events - create/destroy and lost/reset so that the tracker knows whats going on. Its not as elegant as I'd hoped, but it should solve most of my current problems. More on that next-time.