Crysis was one of those games that we have been waiting for and praying about because our PCs and wallets are about to or already have started to hurt. Raising the far for visual quality, Crysis is finally here and will stress the Inno3D GeForce 8800 GT OC like no other game can.
Crysis is a game that no PC today can handle with everything cranked up to the max at playable framerates. Similar to EverQuest II, the Crysis graphics engine was designed to scale years into the future so we will have to give hardware some time to catch up.
Note that the benchmarks are strictly from gameplay. I have played through Crysis already while switching settings and such to really test this graphics card out.
We begin with Windows Vista and DirectX 10 performance.
Crysis DirectX 10 Performance - Windows Vista
Then DirectX 9 performance under Windows Vista.
DirectX9 Performance - Windows Vista
And lastly, DirectX 9 performance under Windows XP, which includes results from a "tweaked" setting.
DirectX9 Performance - Windows XP
DirectX 10 is the new kid on the block and apparently, this guy is not doing so well. Crysis was supposed to have been DirectX 10's flagship intro game, but there is a reason why the DirectX 10 implementation fails in my opinion.
If you have not seen it already around the Internet, users are allowed to make special configuration files to the DirectX 9 portion of the game to "unlock" DirectX 10 visual features without the heavy performance penality. This is simply done by adding a "game.cfg" to the main Crysis folder. So how do the visuals compare on Inno3D GeForce 8800 GT OC?
DirectX 10 - High vs. Very High
The difference between "High" and "Very High" visually are minimal. There is a little more detail in the trees and the overall picture is a somewhat darker due to the time of day in the game. There are a few effects like sun rays and Coronas that still are not enabled in DirectX 10's "Very High" setting.
DirectX 9 - High vs. Tweaked
Microsoft's DirectX 10 was supposed to bring a noticeable difference in visual quality to the table, especially now that Crysis has finally debuted. But in reality, all it did was offer close to the same visual quality as DirectX 9 while taking a heavy toll on system performance. Even more remarkable, is that NVIDIA invested over 5,000 man-hours assisting Crytek during the development of Crysis.
The Inno3D GeForce 8800GT OC is quite a powerful graphics card, but it is still not enough to enjoy Crysis at high resolutions with a playable framerate. My recommendation would be to invest in a second GeForce 8800 GT to form an SLI configuration or postpone playing Crysis under Windows Vista and DirectX 10 until both the hardware and the software matures.
Now for some good news. The Inno3D GeForce 8800GT OC performs reasonably well under Windows XP, which is actually something to brag about! As shown in the benchmark results, performance under Windows XP provided the best gameplay experience with close to an average of 40 frames per second.
Even at the resolution of 1680x1050, which is native to most 20” LCD's, Crysis was smooth and enjoyable. A tweaked DirectX 9 configuration offers sun rays, sun coronas and battle dust, but performance dropped to an average of 26 frames per second. The Crysis configuration file is highly tweakable and it is possible to enable almost every DirectX 10 effect.
I am convinced that performance and visual quality can be improved by spending some time and researching various graphics settings. Tweakguides.com would be a good place to start.