|MSI R6870 Radeon HD 6870 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 05 November 2010|
Page 13 of 18
Mafia II DX11 Benchmark Results
Mafia II is a single-player third-person action shooter developed by 2K Czech for 2K Games, and is the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven released in 2002. Players assume the life of World War II veteran Vito Scaletta, the son of small Sicilian family who immigrates to Empire Bay. Growing up in the slums of Empire Bay teaches Vito about crime, and he's forced to join the Army in lieu of jail time. After sustaining wounds in the war, Vito returns home and quickly finds trouble as he again partners with his childhood friend and accomplice Joe Barbaro. Vito and Joe combine their passion for fame and riches to take on the city, and work their way to the top in Mafia II.
Mafia II is a DirectX-9/10/11 compatible PC video game built on 2K Czech's proprietary Illusion game engine, which succeeds the LS3D game engine used in Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. In our Mafia-II Video Game Performance article, Benchmark Reviews explored characters and gameplay while illustrating how well this game delivers APEX PhysX features on both AMD and NVIDIA products. Thanks to DirectX-11 APEX PhysX extensions that can be processed by the system's CPU, Mafia II offers gamers equal access to high-detail physics regardless of video card manufacturer. Equal access is not the same thing as equal performance, though.
With PhysX technology turned off, both AMD and NVIDIA are on a level playing field in this test. In contrast to many gaming scenes, where other-worldly characters and environments allow the designers to amp up the detail, Mafia II uses human beings wearing ordinary period-correct clothes and natural scenery. Just like how high end audio equipment is easiest to judge using that most familiar of sounds - the human voice, graphics hardware is really put to the test when rendering things that we have real experience with. The drape of a wool overcoat is a deceptively simple construct; easy to understand and implement, but very difficult to get perfect.
The MSI R6870 did very well in this medium-resolution benchmark, with an average frame rate of 59, almost ten FPS higher than the GTX460. By arranging the cards in price-order, from left to right in the chart, you expect the bars to rise evenly as you progress up the pricing ladder. The fact that they do so in such a linear manner in this test indicates to me that this game is equally suited to either AMD or NVIDIA solutions. Given the fact that Mafia II makes excellent use of PhysX and 3D as described in our NVIDIA APEX PhysX Efficiency: CPU vs GPU article, both areas where NVIDIA has an edge, some of you are probably howling at that statement. But an 18% improvement in performance for a 9% increase in price is a good deal. The law of diminishing returns usually has those two numbers reversed when comparing midrange or upper range products in any field.
At the higher screen resolution of 1920x1200, the MSI R6870 beats an overclocked GTX460 by exactly 25%, with an average frame rate of 48.5 FPS. I think it's fair to say that Mafia II relies less on tessellation for enhancing realism than it does on PhysX. Otherwise, the newer, better tessellation engines in the HD 6870 and the GTX460 would be pushing those numbers up, relative to the HD 5870. Here is a game where brute force, meaning the number of shader processors, pays off.
In our next section, we are going to complete our DirectX 11 testing with a look at an unusual DX11 benchmarks, straight from Russia and the studios of Unigine. Their latest benchmark is called "Heaven", and it has some very interesting and non-typical graphics. So, let's take a peek at what Heaven v2.1 looks like.