|Sapphire HD4890 Toxic Vapor-X 11150-01-40R|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 09 June 2009|
Page 7 of 15
Call of Duty 4 Benchmarks
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare runs on a proprietary game engine that Infinity Ward based off of the tried-and-true Q3 structure. This engine offers features such as true world-dynamic lighting, HDR lighting effects, dynamic shadows and depth of field. "Bullet Penetration" is calculated by the Infinity Ward COD4 game engine, taking into account things such as surface type and entity thickness. Certain objects, such as cars, and some buildings are destructible. This makes distinguishing cover from concealment important, as the meager protection provided by things such as wooden fences and thin walls does not fully shield players from harm as it does in many other games released during the same time period. Bullet speed and stopping power are decreased after penetrating an object, and this decrease is calculated realistically depending on the thickness and surface of the object penetrated.
This version of the game also makes use of a dynamic physics engine, a feature which was not implemented in previous Call of Duty titles for Windows PC's. The new in-game death animations are a combination of pre-set static animations combined with ragdoll physics. Infinity Ward's use of the well-debugged Quake 3 engine along with new dynamic physics implementation allows Call of Duty 4 to be playable by a wide range of computer hardware systems. The performance may be scaled for low-end graphic cards up to 4x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Tri-linear anisotropic texture filtering.
Before I discuss the results, I would like to take a moment to mention my general opinion on Fraps software when it comes to game performance benchmarking. If you're not familiar with the software, Fraps (derived from Frames per second) is a benchmarking, screen capture, and real-time video capture utility for DirectX and OpenGL applications. Some reviewers use this software to measure video game performance on their Windows system, as well as record gaming footage. My opinion is that it offers a valid third-party non-bias alternative to in-game benchmarking tools; but there is one caveat: it's not perfect. Because the user must manually begin the test, the starting point may vary from position to position and therefore skew the results.
In my testing with Fraps v2.9.8 build 7777, I used the cut-scene intro to the coup d'etat scene when Al Asad takes over control. First I allowed the level to load and let the scene begin for a few moments, then I would use the escape key to bring up the menu and choose the restart level option, I would immediately press F11 to begin recording the benchmark data. This scene is nearly four minutes long, but I configured Fraps to record the first 180 seconds of it to remain consistent. Once the scene would end, I would repeat the restart process for a total of five tests. So within a 2 millisecond starting point margin, all benchmark results are comparable which is probably as accurate as it can possibly get with this tool.
In our frame rate results, all five of the collected test scores were within 0.5 FPS of one-another and then averaged for the chart you see above. Because the products we are testing compete for the high-end segment of discrete graphics, the frame rates in Call of Duty 4 all share similar results with only small degrees of difference between 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions.
The low-end GeForce 8800 GT plays Call of Duty 4 with moderately acceptable frame rates, scoring 48 FPS at 1920x1200 and making up the bottom end of our charted results. The Radeon HD 4850 (not illustrated) rendered 68 FPS, followed by the reference GTX 260216 with 80 FPS. Moving up to the Radeon HD 4870 (not illustrated) yields 85 frames per second at 1920x1200, and is out-performed by the Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Toxic with 99 FPS. Even the GeForce GTX 285, with all of its new muscle, can only outpace the others by a small margin with 99 FPS rendered. For a relatively low price tag, two HD4770's paired into a CrossFireX set pushed nearly the same frame rate, and the expensive ultra-high end GeForce GTX 295 scored 120 FPS.
Essentially, almost all of the graphics products tested produced frame rates between 80-99 FPS at 1920x1200. The Atomic 4870 X2 (not illustrated) on the other hand, burned through 130 FPS without breaking a sweat (it's water-cooled, after all). Because of the shear muscle the Sapphire Atomic packs, the video cards we've tested on CoD4 fall into one of two categories: those that aren't the Radeon 4870 X2 Atomic, and those that are. The Radeon HD 4890 Toxic and GTX 285 did extremely well for being the best single-GPU products available, but the difference between a single RV790 GPU and dual RV740's from the CrossFireX set is barely noticeable.
In our next section, we shall see if the performance-demanding video game Crysis will help strengthen this position among our collection of video cards.