|MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 24 September 2010|
Page 12 of 19
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Test Results
The Battlefield franchise has been known to demand a lot from PC graphics hardware. DICE (Digital Illusions CE) has incorporated their Frostbite-1.5 game engine with Destruction-2.0 feature set with Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 features destructible environments using Frostbit Destruction-2.0, and adds gravitational bullet drop effects for projectiles shot from weapons at a long distance. The Frostbite-1.5 game engine used on Battlefield: Bad Company 2 consists of DirectX-10 primary graphics, with improved performance and softened dynamic shadows added for DirectX-11 users. At the time Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was published, DICE was also working on the Frostbite-2.0 game engine. This upcoming engine will include native support for DirectX-10.1 and DirectX-11, as well as parallelized processing support for 2-8 parallel threads. This will improve performance for users with an Intel Core-i7 processor.
In our benchmark tests of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the first three minutes of action in the single-player raft night scene are captured with FRAPS. Relative to the online multiplayer action, these frame rate results are nearly identical to daytime maps with the same video settings.
BF:BC2 shows that DirectX10 need not be the death card for NVIDIA GeForce products; the Frostbite-1.5 game engine is partial to NVIDIA products over ATI, despite AMD's sponsorship of the game. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 the base model GTX460, with 768 MB of RAM and a 192-bit data path to that memory, pretty much ties with the ATI Radeon HD 5830. Once the memory is brought up to the full 1 GB and the GPU clocks are tweaked up a bit to 780/1560 MHz, the MSI N460GTX HAWK improves its lead over the HD 5830 to 25%. Now take a look at how well the HAWK does against the HD 5870 in this test. BTW, I think it's a fair fight comparing the Cypress to the GF104; they both have roughly 2 billon transistors, use the exact same fabrication technology-sourced from the same supplier, and many are running at 800-850 MHz core frequencies here.
I know general purpose computing uses a very small fraction of the power contained in today's average PC, but it does seem that gaming applications are at least trying to push the envelope. Playing this game with the previous generation of graphics cards is a complete waste of time and effort. Some of that is attributable to advances in 3D Graphics APIs (application programming interfaces) like DirectX11, but at some level the game developers have to make decisions about how much detail to include in the scenes, and how realistically to render soft surfaces like skin and water. I know some of the improvements may look minimal or insignificant when perusing the promotional screenshots, but they all add up, in the final result. Bring it on, I say. I'll find some other use for that old HD 4850 graphics card.
In our next section, we are going to switch over to DirectX 11 testing and look at the one of the newest 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 v2.0 looks like.