EA Link vs. Steam, a completely unscientific comparison

by: Chuck -
I re-built the main gaming rig last week with a little help from John (stupid loose power cables) and began the process of re-installing all the critical applications like Office, Quicken, and my favorite PC games.  Since Half-Life 2 and Battlefield 2142 were the first ones that came to mind and since I don't have physical media for each of these I thought it might be a good opportunity to compare the download speeds of Electronic Arts EA Link and Valve's Steam service. 

To test them I kicked off the downloads at roughly the same time and then did a little work around the office while they downloaded and installed.  I was a little surprised to see that EA Link easily downloaded the 2GB file for Battlefield 2142 game quicker than it took Steam to download Half-Life 2.  Of course your mileage will vary as I may have gotten a fast EA server and a slow Valve one but I was impressed to see that EA Link was actually pretty quick.

There is one frustrating note though and that is that EA still hosts the original version of Battlefield 2142 and not the current version of the game so I had to download another patch in addition to downloading the game.  That's in sharp contrast to Steam who automatically downloads the current version of the game.  I realize that it's not that big of a deal to download another 32 MB file but it's kind of frustrating to not get the current version of a game.
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