|XFX Radeon HD5770 Video Card HD-577A-ZN|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 28 October 2009|
Page 10 of 19
Crysis Benchmark Results
Crysis uses a new graphics engine: the CryENGINE2, which is the successor to Far Cry's CryENGINE. CryENGINE2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX 10) framework, but can also run using DirectX 9, on Vista, Windows XP and the new Windows 7. As we'll see, there are significant frame rate reductions when running Crysis in DX10. It's not an operating system issue, DX9 works fine in WIN7, but DX10 knocks the frame rates in half.
Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders. To get the most out of modern multicore processor architectures, CPU intensive subsystems of CryENGINE 2 such as physics, networking and sound, have been re-written to support multi-threading.
Crysis offers an in-game benchmark tool, which is similar to World in Conflict. This short test does place some high amounts of stress on a graphics card, since there are so many landscape features rendered. For benchmarking purposes, Crysis can mean trouble as it places a high demand on both GPU and CPU resources. Benchmark Reviews uses the Crysis Benchmark Tool by Mad Boris to test frame rates in batches, which allows the results of many tests to be averaged.
Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau its maximum output performance, and shifts demand onto the other system components. At the lower resolutions Crysis will reflect the GPU's top-end speed in the composite score, indicating full-throttle performance with little load. This makes for a less GPU-dependant test environment, but it is sometimes helpful in creating a baseline for measuring maximum output performance. At the 1280x1024 resolution used by 17" and 19" monitors, the CPU and memory have too much influence on the results to be used in a video card test. At the widescreen resolutions of 1680x1050 and 1900x1200, the performance differences between video cards under test are mostly down to the cards.
In my review of the reference HD5770, I said I was shocked by these DirectX 10 numbers, but now something has changed. Now I see how to get decent frame rates in this particularly challenging situation: start with an ATI 5770, at a minimum, and put at least two of them in CrossfireX. Running XP-based systems and DirectX 9, the latest generation of video cards was starting to get a handle on Crysis. Certainly, in this test, with no anti-aliasing dialed in, any of the tested cards running in DX9 provided a usable solution. Now, in DX10 only the highest performing boards get close to an average frame rate of 30FPS. It seems like we've gone back in time, back to when only two or three very expensive video cards could run Crysis with all the eye candy turned on. I guess we'll have to wait until CryEngine3 comes out, and is optimized for the current generation of graphics APIs.
Looking at the XFX HD5770 running reference clocks and the overclocked results, we can see that this card does pretty well with Crysis. Even in stock configuration it beats the GTX260, and the overclock pushes the lead out a bit. They both fail to catch the GTX 275, though, hanging about 3 FPS behind. Putting two of them in CrossfireX crushes the competition, at a pretty reasonable price, too. Interestingly, the CrossfireX doesn't scale all that well in this benchmark, but it's enough to sail well past the GTX285 with a 7 FPS lead, and it's the only thing that will get you past 30 FPS at 1900x1200.
Add in some anti-aliasing, 4X to be exact, and all the cards take about a 5 FPS hit. Although the HD5770 still beats out the GTX260, even with stock clocks, it's a pyrrhic victory. No one wants to play this game at 17 or 20 FPS, it's just too choppy. Either throw more hardware at it, or fall back to DirectX9, which I think makes the most sense. I'd rather have smooth frame rates and 4X or 8X anti-aliasing than the small detail improvements DX10 brings to this game.
In our next section, Benchmark Reviews tests with Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark. Read on to see how a blended high-demand GPU test with low video frame buffer demand will impact our test products.