Measuring the graphics performance in Dark Messiah consisted of loading a save point that begins with a full screen cut-scene of the player approaching the gates of Stonehelm on horseback. The cut-scene changes to half-screen when an Ogre approaches and attacks the castle entrance. Control of the player is then taken over for a brief period as the ogre bursts through the front gate. An MPEG-1 video clip of the action is available for viewing here (~ 22 MB).
With the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB installed, Dark Messiah recommended that a medium texture resolution be used whereas the texture resolution defaulted to high on the GeForce 7900 GTX. With VidMemWatcher running, it was interesting to see the memory usage increase as the level of AA was applied within the in-game menu. Again, the memory usage being reported was the value that appeared after the benchmark was complete on the GeForce 7900 GTX.
Occurrence of Minimum Frame Rate
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The limitation of 320MB became apparent with Dark Messiah after having changed the texture resolution from medium to high with the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB installed.
Dark Messiah Settings
Video Memory Used
Without antialiasing, the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB was the better performer in Dark Messiah. However, at 2x and 4x AA, the GeForce 7900 GTX was.
Average Frame Rate
As a side note, the average frame rate on the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB increased from 45fps to 53fps when the texture resolution was lowered from high to medium at 2560x1600 with no antialiasing.