|MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 24 September 2010|
Page 8 of 19
Crysis Performance tests
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 CryENGINE2 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 themselves, but there is still some influence by the rest of the system components.
With medium screen resolution and no MSAA dialed in, the MSI N460GTX HAWK is slightly better than the HD 5830 and about four FPS behind a stock HD 5850. Unlike many so-called TWIMTBP titles, Crysis has always run quite well on the ATI architecture. The GTX 460 is still competitive here at current pricing, so don't look at the performance in this title as anything like a failure. It's just not a slam dunk victory for NVIDIA this time, unless you are looking at the results for a massively overclocked version, as shown here pulling down 39 FPS.
Crysis is one of those few games that stress the CPU almost as much as the GPU. As we increase the load on the graphics card, with higher resolution and AA processing, the situation may change. Remember all the test results in this article are with maximum allowable image quality settings, plus all the performance numbers in Crysis took a major hit when Benchmark Reviews switched over to the DirectX 10 API for all our testing.
At 1900 x 1200 resolution, the relative rankings stay the same; the raw numbers just go down. With the increased load on the GPU, the GTX 460 can't quite get above the 30 FPS mark, until you overclock the thing to the max. It takes more than any mid-range GPU can muster to play Crysis at high resolution with all the bells and whistles turned on, but that's no surprise.
Now let's turn up the heat a bit on the ROP units, and add some Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing. With 4x MSAA cranked in, the GTX460 loses about 5 FPS at 1680x1050 screen resolution and can't manage to stay above the 30 FPS line. Compared to the ATI offerings, the MSI N460GTX HAWK with out-of-the-box settings edges out the HD 5830, and is a few frames behind the HD 5850. These are very competitive results....especially when you factor market pricing into the comparison, but the bottom line is that Crysis is not this card's strong point. We'll see the tables turned soon enough. None of the old GT200 cards are a serious threat to the newer cards with their 40nm GPU technology.
This is one of our toughest tests, at 1900 x 1200, maximum quality levels, and 4x AA. Only one GPU gets above 30 FPS in this test, and until recently it was the fastest single-GPU card on the planet, the Radeon HD 5870. In the middle ranges, the HD 5850 holds on to its spot as performance leader, but the GTX 460 is probably the value leader. It takes a max overclock to get the GTX 460 to come up even with the HD 5850 on this test.