nV News Deals Shop Archive Search Files Forum Feed Articles IRC Chat GeForce.com


Search Site
Ads by Google
Links To NVIDIA
Drivers
Products
Communities
Support
NVIDIA Blog
News Room
About NVIDIA
GeForce Technology
CUDA
DirectX 11
Optimus
PhysX
SLI
3D Vision
3D Vision Surround
Articles
GeForce GTX 580
GeForce GTX 570
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
GeForce GTX 480
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 460
GeForce GTS 450
GeForce GTX 295
GeForce GTX 280
GeForce GTX 260
GeForce GT 240
GeForce 9800 GTX
GeForce 9800 GX2
GeForce 9600 GT
GeForce 8800 Ultra
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 8800 GTS
GeForce 8800 GT
GeForce 8600 GTS
GeForce 8500 GT
GeForce 7950 GX2
GeForce 7950 GT
GeForce 7900 GTX
GeForce 7900 GS
GeForce 7800 GTX
Watercooling Project
My Book 500GB
Raptor Hard Drive
Guide To Doom 3
EVGA Stuff
EVGA E-LEET
EVGA Precision
GPU Voltage Tuner
OC Scanner
SLI Enhancement
EVGA Bot
EVGA Gear
Reviews and Awards
Associates
Benchmark Reviews
Fraps
GeForce Italia
GPU Review
Hardware Pacers
LaptopVideo2Go
MVKTECH
News3D (NVITALIA)
OutoftheBoxMods
OSNN.net
Overclocker Cafe
PC Extreme
PC Gaming Standards
PhysX Links & Info
TestSeek
3DChip (German)
8Dimensional
nV News - Benchmarking Starcraft 2 - Page 1 of 1


Introduction

StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a military science fiction real-time strategy video game that debuted worldwide in July of 2010. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Starcraft 2 was released for the Windows and Mac OS operating systems and is the sequel to the award-winning 1998 video game StarCraft.

On August 3, 2010, Blizzard announced that StarCraft 2 sold more than one million units worldwide within one day of its release. As of December 2010, the game had sold nearly 4.5 million units making it the fastest-selling strategy game of all time. The game received an aggregated score of 93% from Metacritic.

Starcraft 2

StarCraft 2 supports DirectX 9 and it is also fully compatible with DirectX 10 as well. The Mac version uses OpenGL. The game also features the Havok physics engine, which provides realistic environmental elements.

Starcraft 2 - One vs. One Replay
Click to enlarge - 2560x1600

Graphics Settings

The graphics settings used to benchmark Starcraft 2 consist of the information shown in the following table. The highest quality in-game graphics settings were all enabled.

In-Game Graphics and Physics Benchmark Settings
Texture Quality Ultra
Graphics Quality Custom
Shaders Ultra
Shadows Ultra
Terrain Ultra
Reflections On
Effects Ultra
Post Processing Ultra
Physics Ultra
Models High
Unit Portraits 3D
Movies High
Override Antialiasing 2x MSAA, 4x MSAA, 8x CSAA, 8x MSAA, 16x CSAA

Note that the in-game antialiasing option, which is present in the main menu, is not present when playing back replays. Following an inspection, I verified that antialiasing is not enabled when playing back a replay.

Also note that certain graphics options may change in the replay menu whenever a value is set during the main menu. Therefore all in-game replay graphics settings were double-checked before running a benchmark.

The in-game graphics menu for replays appears below.

In-Game Graphics Settings
Click to enlarge - 2560x1600

Test System

The following table lists the key PC system components that were used to benchmark Starcraft 2.

Test System Components
Processor Intel Core i7 940 Quad Core @2.93GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5
System Memory 6GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 @1333MHz
Graphics Procesing Unit NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
Monitor Dell 3007WFP
Operating System Windows 7
Direct X 11
GeForce Driver 310.64 Beta
Starcraft 2 Version 1.5.3.23260

Starcraft 2 does not feature an in-game benchmark therefore the replay feature and Fraps were used to determine these results. The replay is from a one-on-one match and the benchmark begins at the 30 minute mark when in-game action was hectic and started pushing the graphics sub-system. The replay sequence lasts for 2 minutes and benchmarking ends at the 32 minute mark. The replay can be downloaded here. Place the replay under the following directory:

  • /My Documents/Starcraft 2/#/#/Replays/Multiplayer where the #'s are specific to your system.

Before starting the benchmark, player "LiquidTLO" from the red team was selected and the camera perspetive was set to his point of view. The fast forward option was then used to get near the 30 minute mark before benchmarking started.

One vs. One Benchmark

Benchmarks were run three times per setting to ensure consistent results were achieved.

Benchmark Results

In addition to benchmarking without antialiasing, the NVIDIA driver control panel was also used to override in-game antialiasing. This feature is a value-add and offers a significant number of higher quality levels of antialiasing at the expense of performance.

Override Antialiasing Performance

From the 30 minute mark forward, this one vs.one replay is particularly demanding with an abundance of in-game objects and special effects taking place. As high quality levels of antialiasing are used, performance drops rapidly.

Below is a table that contains frame times from the 4x multisampling antialiasing results. Frame times can be used to determine the "smoothness" of the gameplay. Let's suppose our target frame rate is 40 frames per second. The frame times to support this target can be computed as:

  • 1,000 milliseconds (ms) per second / frame rate = milliseconds per frame.
For example, there are 1,000ms in a second and the target frame rate is 40 frames per second (fps).
  • 1,000ms per second / 40 fps = 25ms per frame.

Frame Times (4,998 Frames) - 4x Multisampling AA
0.000 - 9.999ms 0 Frames
10.000 - 19.999ms 464 Frames
20.000 - 29.999ms 4,370 Frames
30.000 - 39.999ms 149 Frames
40.000 - 49.999ms 13 Frames
>= 50.000ms 12 Frames

A majority of the frame times took place within the 20.000- 29.999ms category or a total of 87%. Ideally, more frames in this category would make 4x multisampling AA feasible, but higher deviations from the target of 40 fps may make 2x antialiasing a better choice.

Alternatively, an SLI configuration or specific in-game graphics settings can be reduced from Ultra to a lesser quality for better performance.

Wrap Up

The replay feature in Starcraft 2 is not perfect, but remains a viable alternative to measureing performance if careful. Unlike Diablo 3, we discovered that the graphics performance in Starcraft 2 is much more demanding and requires a powerful graphics card to play at Ultra settings. The main point about using the replay feature is that it's repeatable, which is optimal for benchmarking.

Last Updated on February 1, 2013


Advertisement

nV News - Copyright © 1998-2014.
Search Products
Search
for


Ads by Casale
Tweaks
Metro: Last Light
PlanetSide 2
Miscellaneous Links
AutoDesk 123 Design
Build Your Gaming PC
FPS vs. Frame Time
Free Games And MMOs
GeForce SLI Technology
HPC For Dummies
PC Game Release Dates
Play Classic PC Games
Steam Hardware Survey
Video Game Designers
TechTerms Dictionary
GPU Applications
AMD GPU Clock Tool
AMD System Monitor
ATITool
aTuner
EVGA E-LEET
EVGA OC Scanner
EVGA Precision
EVGA Voltage Tuner
Gainward ExperTool
GPU-Shark
GPU Voltage Tuner
Fraps
FurMark
GLview
GPU Caps Viewer
GPU PerfStudio
GPU Shark
GPU-Z
MSI Afterburner
nHancer
NiBiTor
NVClock (Linux)
NVFlash
NVIDIA Inspector
NvTempLogger
NVTray
PowerStrip
RivaTuner
SLI Profile Tool
The Compressonator
3DCenter Filter Test
3DMark 11
3DMark Vantage
PhysX Applications
Cell Factor Revolution
Cryostatis Tech Demo
Cube Wall Demo
PhysX FluidMark
Fluid Physics
NV PhysX Tweaker
NVIDIA OPTIX 2
PhysX Downloads
PhysX at YouTube
Add-In Partners
AFOX
ASUS
AXLE
BFG Technologies
BIOSTAR
Chaintech
Colorful
ELSA
emTek
EVGA
GAINWARD
GALAXY
GIGABYTE
FORSA
FOXCONN
Inno3D
Jaton
Leadtek
Manli
MSI
Palit
PNY
Point of View
Prolink
SPARKLE
XFX
ZOGIS
ZOTAC