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Old 09-13-10, 12:20 PM   #5
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Gaming Performance

Mafia II (CPU and GPU PhysX)

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: CPU PhysX, 0xAA/16xAF everything set to medium, Ambient Occlusion on

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: GPU PhysX, 0xAA/16xAF everything set to medium, Ambient Occlusion on

Playing this game with a single GTS 450 at 1680x1050 with GPU PhysX enabled shows that while the GTS can handle GPU PhysX, it is hampered in its ability to provide completely playable framerates. Not that this isn't a strong showing, as this does seem like a lot of work for a 128-bit 192 CUDA core equipped video card. With PhysX off the game was very playable, ran smooth and looked great. Something interesting happened while testing GPU PhysX on the EVGA FTW card after my initial runs. I tried a lower resolution (1280x720) and turned all IQ settings to lowest. I also turned AA, AF and Ambient Occlusion off. GPU PhysX was set at medium. The results were almost exactly that of the higher resolution/IQ level (27.5 FPS @ stock speeds, 26.8 when clocked down to reference speeds). I had hoped for an increase in framerate, but as it stood, the higher-IQ/higher resolution settings provided the same results.

Metro 2033

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: Preset "Low", AA: 4X, 16xAF

Resolution: 1280x720
Settings: Preset "Low", AA: 4X, 16xAF

It'd be nice if you could easily turn off antialiasing in this game to get some extra performance out of cards like these. Though the game was playable by both cards, some may have objections to having an average framerate in the high twenties. Thankfully this game has a slightly slow pace, so the low-ish framerate doesn't seem to be much of a problem. However, in an effort to get better performance I tried 1280x720 and was rewarded with much smoother gameplay. For what it's worth even at low settings at a lower resolution the game looks great, partially due to the antialiasing being applied.

The EVGA card performed 23% better than the reference unit in this test.

Lost Planet 2 Benchmark

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: MSAA 4x, 16xAF, highest settings, DirectX 11 features "medium"

This turned into more of a torture test than a gaming benchmark. Obviously at these settings the game (engine) is not smooth at all. With the EVGA card, I did try some lowered settings. I turned antialiasing off, DX11 effects down to "low" and shadows to medium. Average framerate for test suite A was 42.2 FPS, and the average for test B was 45.5. The game still looked great, so switching a few settings to lower the IQ a little bit really paid off.


Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: custom benchmark, London Battersea Air track, no opponent cars, all settings at highest, 4xAA/16xAF

Both cards performed great in this game, with the EVGA card performing 8% better.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: single player, mission 1, all settings at highest, HBAO on, 4xAA/16xAF, FOV set to "78"

An interesting aside - multiplayer framerates are higher than single player framerates in this game. I enjoyed some multiplayer with both cards and got framerates in the forties as opposed to the thirties I got while testing single player. I did however try some reduced-IQ settings in single player with the EVGA card. With 2xAA instead of 4xAA, I got 39.7 FPS. At 1xAA I got 45.1. Furthermore, while testing mutiplayer I also tried some lower-IQ settings. In a full 24 player Atacama desert Rush map, I got 56.1 FPS with 1xAA (HBAO was still on). And for those of us favoring AA over HBAO, I tested the same gameplay with 4xAA enabled and HBAO off, and got 57.9 fps. Overall, this game is very playable at this resolution with some very small IQ compromises.

Mirror’s Edge (with PhysX Enabled)

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: 4xAA/16xAF, all settings at highest

I tested an early level in this game in which a lot of glass is broken, both by enemies firing at the player and by the player busting through windows. Both cards handled this game flawlessly, and it was nice seeing this game being played with PhysX enabled (and not requiring a separate card).

Kayne and Lynch 2 Demo

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: all settings at highest, SSAO on, 4xAA/16xAF

I don't have any information as to what special effects are used in this game demo, but it is apparent to me that it is pretty system and GPU-intensive. This game was playable at the tested settings, but I'd definitely turn AA off to get some more FPS.

Far Cry 2

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: 4xAA/16xAF, Demo(Playback (Demo Ranch)), 1680x1050 (60Hz), D3D10, Fixed Time Step(Yes), Disable Artificial Intelligence(Yes), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(4x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Ultra High), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)

Although the Demo ranch playback figures don't look too bad, they're around half of what the GTX 460 could produce at a higher resolution, and the framerate was a bit jerky. I retested time and time again after several restarts with teh same result. Furthermore, these results are lower than the NVIDIA reference results, which either indicate that Far Cry 2 doesn't like my x6 CPU, or there is some sort of problem with my install. I'll be investigating the issue further and will report back ASAP with my findings.

Battlefield 2142

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: 4xAA/16xAF, all settings at highest, multiplayer gameplay, full Camp Gibraltar Conquest server

This is an older game that not a lot of people play online any more, but in my opinion represented games that gamers play that are not on the radar any more. Obviously the GTS 450 can handle this game at the highest IQ settings.

Alien Swarm

Resolution: 1680x1050
Settings: 4xAA/16xAF, all settings at highest

A free game available on Steam which uses a new build of the Source Engine, Alien Swarm ran great with both cards. This is another title which probably could be played smoothly at 1920x1080.

Performance Summary:

It is clear that the GTS 450 GPU puts forth a valiant effort to provide acceptable gaming performance at the 1680x1050 resolution, and for the most part it performs great, but in some of the newer titles like Metro 2033, Lost Planet 2 and the Kayne and Lynch 2 demo it has some difficulty in providing high FPS. It looks like in some situations, one might need to switch to a lower resolution, lower game settings, or turn off AA and AF. The 128-bit memory interface and relatively low 192 CUDA core count works as hard as it can to meet NVIDIA's target gaming settings of 1680x1050 with 4xAA and 16xAF, but it appears as though the sweet spot for this GPU might be a little lower, possibly the same resolution with AA and AF turned off. For what it's worth, the results in this review match NVIDIA's reference results for the most part, with the notable exception being Far Cry 2, which for whatever reason performed a bit lower than expected.

Regarding the EVGA GTS 450 FTW Edition, the core and memory speed increases really did give the GTS 450 a noticeable improvement in most games. Furthermore, at the higher speeds the temperature of the core was not much different at these elevated clocks either.

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