This study is aimed at comparing the seismic performance of steel chevron braced frames (CBFs) with and without viscous fluid dampers (VFDs) as a function of the intensity and frequency characteristics of the ground motion and VFD parameters. For this purpose, comparative nonlinear time history (NLTH) analyses of single and multiple story CBFs with and without VFDs are conducted using ground motions with various frequency characteristics scaled to represent small, moderate and large intensity earthquakes. Additionally, NLTH analyses Of Single and multiple story CBFs with VFDs are conducted to study the effect of the damping ratio and velocity exponent of the VFD on the seismic performance of the frames. The analysis results revealed that the seismic performance of the CBFs without VFDs is very poor and sensitive to the frequency characteristics and intensity of the ground motion due to brace buckling effects. Installing VFDs into the CBFs significantly improved their seismic performance by maintaining their elastic behavior. Furthermore, VFDs with smaller velocity exponents and larger damping ratio are observed to be more effective in improving the seismic performance of the CBFs. However, VFDs with damping ratios larger than 50% do not produce significant additional improvement in the seismic performance of the CBFs. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.