Hmm okay that makes it a lot easier to test then. Even so, though, it means that for Rift Cascade, with ITU, AO, and Gunnery, you get 1 rift at 1950 range and 5 rifts at 1150 range, but if you put on HSA, you get 1 rift at 1050 range and 5 rifts at 250 range -- you'll lose a lot of the rifts. Then again, one nice thing about the rifts is that they're hard flux to begin with, so with Rift Cascade, there's less need to get HSA to begin with. It's already a very expensive weapon.

For Paladin, it normally goes up to 1512 range though you can make it hit 1712 with Elite Point Defense, though with HSA, it means 831 range though you can have it hit 1031 range with Elite Point Defense. For the others, it's 1950 range without HSA and 1050 range with HSA. So Paladin can more or less match the others in range with HSA.

If we take Rift Cascade as 2100 damage per burst if 1 rift and 4500 damage per burst if 5 rifts, assuming the rifts have the same hit strength as the beams (i.e. 500) as a simplification, then it means 323 DPS for 1 burst and 692 DPS for 5 bursts. Similarly, for Paladin PD, assuming it does 100 frag damage every 0.3 sec, or 333 frag DPS with hit strength of 100 frag (becomes 25 in damage reduction), along with its beam damage, then the updated DPS is attached below. The EMP damage for Tachyon is still unaccounted for, but this roughly accounts for the bonus rift damage for Rift Cascade and the bonus frag damage for Paladin PD.

At max rifts, Rift Cascade can reach 1:1 damage to flux ratio, so it can potentially do more DPS than Tachyon. However, you'd need to have multiple rifts for that to happen. Also, it inherently costs more to use, at 692 flux per second when the other large beams are 500 flux per second (or for Tachyon, a bit less at 462). So in terms of raw DPS, against high armor, Rift Cascade does more DPS if you have about 3 bursts or slightly less, whereas at lower armor, Rift Cascade does more DPS if you between 1 or 2 bursts. In terms of damage/flux efficiency though, against high armor you'd need 4-5 bursts to be as efficient as Tachyon, while against low armor you'd need around 3 bursts to be as efficient.

The same weapons are plotted for versus hull, though in this case the x-axis is adjusted to max 200 since it's residual armor now. (Residual armor of 200 implies base armor of 4000.) Assuming Paladin's bonus frag damage hits the same target, it has the best DPS of all the beams if the residual armor is about 32 or lower (corresponding to base armor of about 640 or lower). Rift Cascade with 5 bursts will do 40% more DPS than HIL, at 40% more flux, since both will amount to 1:1 damage to flux with 500 hit strength against hull. The DPS for Tachyon and for Rift Cascade is unchanged regardless of armor or hull.

The graphs were based on the following assumptions:

High Intensity Laser, 500 HE DPS, 500 flux per second, 250 HE hit strength (becomes 500 in damage reduction calculation)

Tachyon Lance, 346 DPS, 462 flux per second, 750 hit strength

Rift Cascade Emitter (5 rifts), 692 DPS, 692 flux per second, 500 hit strength

Rift Cascade Emitter (1 rift), 323 DPS, 692 flux per second, 500 hit strength

Paladin PD (with bonus frag), 667 DPS, 500 flux per second, 100 hit strength, plus 333 frag DPS, 0 flux per second (since it's "free" bonus damage), 100 frag hit strength (becomes 25 in damage reduction calculation), note this is burst DPS i.e. while it still has charges; sustained DPS is 30% of these values