|MSI N560GTX-Ti GeForce Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 30 January 2011|
Page 7 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. 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, Crysis shows a completely different picture than 3DMark Vantage. Unlike many so-called TWIMTBP titles, Crysis has always run quite well on the ATI architecture, and the Radeon HD 5870 is able to vie for top honors in this benchmark against the more costly GTX 480. The GTX 560Ti is still competitive in this game, at current pricing; it just doesn't jump out as the performance v. price leader like it does elsewhere.
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. None of the cards are struggling at these low settings, though.
At 1900 x 1200 resolution, the relative rankings stay the same; the raw numbers just go down. Even with the increased load on the GPU, every card from the HD 6870 on up still gets over the 30FPS hump. Any of these high-end GPUs can muster up the muscle to play Crysis at high resolution with most of the bells and whistles turned on, much to everyone's relief. Can it play Crysis? Yes.
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 top cards lose about 5 FPS at 1680x1050 screen resolution but they manage to stay well above the 30 FPS line. In all these Crysis tests, the MSI R6870 video card has managed to do quite well, but the Radeon HD 5870 is still a great price/performance option for this game. The GTX 560Ti hangs in there with the HD 6870, but it's obvious that it's not optimized for the older graphics code in this classic benchmark.
This is one of our toughest tests, at 1900 x 1200, maximum quality levels, and 4x AA. In the $250-$300 price range, all the cards hover around the 30 FPS mark in this test, which is unbelievable when I think back to the first days of DirectX 10 testing with Crysis. In the middle ranges, the HD 6870 and GTX 560Ti are neck-and-neck, with the 975 MHZ overclock pulling only two FPS ahead of the MSI R6870. Even a massive overclock on the GTX 460 won't come up even with the midrange cards on this test. I ran the MSI GTX 460 HAWK at 950 MHz core clock a couple months ago, and it only got 26 FPS at these settings. On this, the toughest of the four benchmark configurations, the GTX 480 retains the overall lead and shows its thoroughbred pedigree when the tests get harder.
Our next test is a relatively new one for Benchmark Reviews. It's a DirectX 10 game with all the stops pulled out. Just Cause 2 uses a brand new game engine called Avalanche Engine 2.0, which enabled the developers to create games of epic scale and with great variation across genres and artistic styles, for the next generation of gaming experiences. Sounds like fun, let's take a look...