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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 23 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mafia-II Video Game Performance
Mafia II Initial Impressions
Mafia II Interesting Characters
Mafia II Gameplay Details
NVIDIA APEX PhysX Enhancements
NVIDIA 3D-Vision Effects
Graphics Detail: Polygons
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing & Results

VGA Testing Methodology

The Microsoft DirectX-11 graphics API is native to the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System, and will be the primary O/S for our test platform. DX11 is also available as a Microsoft Update for the Windows Vista O/S, so our test results apply to both versions of the Operating System.

According to the Steam Hardware Survey published for the month ending May 2010, the most popular gaming resolution is 1280x1024 (17-19" standard LCD monitors). However, because this 1.31MP resolution is considered 'low' by most standards, our benchmark performance tests concentrate on higher-demand resolutions: 1.76MP 1680x1050 (22-24" widescreen LCD) and 2.30MP 1920x1200 (24-28" widescreen LCD monitors). These resolutions are more likely to be used by high-end graphics solutions, such as those tested in this article.

In each benchmark test there is one 'cache run' that is conducted, followed by five recorded test runs. Results are collected at each setting with the highest and lowest results discarded. The remaining three results are averaged, and displayed in the performance charts.

Intel X58-Express Test System

Results

Measured at 1920x1200 resolution, Mafia II placed ample demand on all four graphics cards tested. The video settings in Mafia II are comprehensive, and offer everything from antialiasing (on or off) and anisotropic filtering (1/2/4/8/16x) to ambient occlusion (on or off) and APEX PhysX (off/medium/high). Our benchmark tests use all settings configured to their highest quality, and then added medium or high APEX PhysX.

Mafia2_DX11_Benchmark.jpg

Measured without APEX PhysX, the GeForce GTX 460 is the lowest performer when compared to a group of high-performance video cards. What's impressive is that once APEX PhysX is turned on (to Medium), the performance perks right up and surpasses even the Radeon HD 5870. With APEX PhysX set to High, notice that there's very little difference in frame rate performance between this test and those conducted with Medium PhysX.

Mafia II is clearly dependant on PhysX technology to deliver realistic scenery and physics, which means that ATI Radeon products will rely on the system's central processor to help compensate. Even when most of the PhysX work is offloaded to the CPU, ATI Radeon video cards earn a significant performance penalty trying to accept the features graphical demand. For best results in Mafia II, players are suggested to use NVIDIA GeForce products to properly process PhysX features and produce high-enough frame rate performance to enjoy 3D Vision.



 

Comments 

 
# Nvidia Sponsored?KuzzenJoe 2010-08-23 11:14
"For best results in Mafia II, players are suggested to use NVIDIA GeForce products to properly process PhysX features and produce high-enough frame rate performance to enjoy 3D Vision". Nice to see an editorial follow the Nvidia-supplied script to the "T". Too bad Nvidia intentionally cripples Phys-x on CPUs and blocks Phys-x with ATI cards. But no worries - my HD 5970 runs just fine with Phys-X running on a seperate 9600GT, and it can display across three screens without needing another matching card. But of course, you would not know any of that from reading this article.
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# RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Olin Coles 2010-08-23 11:31
@KuzzenJoe: After seeing our benchmark results you somehow think I was biased for recommending GeForce video cards with Mafia-2? I know there will be ATI fanboys, but ignoring facts goes beyond favoritism. But you go ahead and play Mafia-2 with your $700 Radeon 5970 and watch a $200 GeForce GTX 460 eat it up with PhysX enabled.
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# RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Adam 2010-09-09 13:55
strange. my hd 4850 plays it just fine and it cost me £50. your move
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# RE: RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Olin Coles 2010-09-09 14:01
Who's move? Nobody said it wouldn't play fine with other cards. They just won't enjoy APEX PhysX with the extra post-processing unless it's a more recent GeForce video card.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Adam 2010-09-09 15:50
yours and as a matter of fact im enjoying the apex effects quite well with a previous gen mid range ATI card thank you.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceRealNeil 2010-08-23 12:13
It's cost seems a little too high for a game that can be completed in less than 5 Hours.
I like all of the old styled cars though.
The Phys-X eye candy might be worth buying a pair of GTX 460 1GB cards in a SLI configuration. (just to try it out)
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-23 12:18
To be fair, I do explain that all of the cinema scenes were skipped my first time through because of the fast-approaching deadline. If you watch them all, and actually try to hunt down posters or Playboy magazines, you'll spend a lot more time in the game.

Also, I really suggest Mafia-2 with 3D-Vision. The combination of APEX PhysX and 3D-Vision take this game to a whole new level.
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceRealNeil 2010-08-23 14:06
Thanks for the further explanation as to the time in game. As to 3D-vision I'll reserve judgement and adaptation until I can Actually see it with my own eyes and try it out a little. Phys-X is real doable for a decent price if you opt for the GTX-460 1GB cards in SLI, or so I'm being told by a few of my friends that have bought the overclocked ones from NewEgg recently. They're quite happy with that setup and now I want it too.
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# Who CaresGlen 2010-08-23 12:33
I don't have to worry about requirements anymore. Going to play this game tomorrow on my Netbook, far below the minimum thanks to OnLive.(Oh yeah and I'm going to get any free game(probably Just Cause 2) with a purchase OnLive) So $25 for this game and $25 for Just Cause 2.
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# RE: Who CaresAP 2010-08-25 09:43
Not at all blatent advertising for OnLive.
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# RE: RE: Who CaresOlin Coles 2010-08-25 09:45
Let's see if there's a reply in defense, otherwise I'll remove the comment.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceMartha Jones 2010-08-23 12:37
@KuzzenJoe, it is not nvidia's fault if ATI refuses to support CUDA and PhysX in their prodicts. nvidia has stated that ATI is welcome to support both, but ATI says they won't support a format which they have no control over and which is spearheaded by their competitor.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceGoodsir 2010-08-29 08:37
Why is the GTX480's framerate cut so much when PhysX is turned on, but the GTX460's framerate is hardly affected?
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 08:41
Aside from different GPU's (GF104 vs GF100), there isn't a clear explaination. Each video card was tested more than seven times per test, and all of the results were verified a second time through.
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 10:21
Probably used CPU physX =P
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 11:21
What? This game doesn't have a setting to pick between GPU and CPU PhysX. If the GPU support PhysX (GeForce) then it uses GPU, if it doesn't (Radeon) it does what it can with CPU.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 13:10
There actually was an issue back in the Demo version of Mafia 2 that the PhysX update, when installed could make your card's PhysX capabilities on a forced disable.

You should check it for yourself by running the game again, except with the "Show PhysX visual indicator" option enabled in your Nvidia Control panel. It's there under the 3D settings menu, next to View and Help.

If it says PhysX > CPU, then it's processing PhysX effects via the CPU, if PhysX > GPU, then it's utilizing the GPU to produce physX effects.
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 13:28
The demo version wasn't used for this review; it's the full retail version of the game.
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 13:32
Aye. However, there's always the possibility. And it's probably no effort just to doublecheck. ;)
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# wtfTeflon 2010-09-13 19:13
Moin! This is a strange benchmark!!! My Gtx 260 and phenom II x4 (@3ghz) can handle the game at the highest settings (1920x1080). getting a frame rate around 35. physx on high.
greetings from germany,
Tef
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# problem with physxdiaeko 2011-07-20 08:34
the brand of my graphic card is intel and physx only supports nvidia
what should I do to run the game without physx?
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# RE: problem with physxOlin Coles 2011-07-20 10:38
You will have very poor performance without a 3D graphics accelerator. You can still disable PhysX in the games video options, if you want to try. I suggest reducing all setting to their minimum.
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