Articles: Graphics
 

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Testbed and Methods

To investigate the performance of contemporary graphics accelerators in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 we put together the following testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor (3.33 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Scythe SCKTN-3000 Katana 3 CPU cooler;
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme mainboard (Intel X58 chipset)
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3 x 2 GB, 1333 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Samsung Spinpoint F1 HDD (1 TB / 32 MB, SATA II);
  • Ultra X4 850 W Modular power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit;
  • ATI Catalyst 10.2 for ATI Radeon HD;
  • Nvidia GeForce 196.75 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce.

The graphics card drivers were set up to deliver the highest possible quality of texture filtering and to minimize the effect of software optimizations used by default. We enabled transparent texture antialiasing. As a result, our ATI and Nvidia driver settings looked as follows:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Smoothvision HD: Anti-Aliasing: Use application settings/Box Filter
  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • Enable Adaptive Anti-Aliasing: On/Quality
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia GeForce:

  • Texture filtering – Quality: High quality
  • Texture filtering – Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Threaded optimization: Auto
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Multi-GPU performance mode: NVIDIA recommended
  • Multi-display mixed-GPU acceleration: Multiple display performance mode
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Other settings: default

14 modern graphics cards participated in our today’s performance test session. They can be split in three categories according to their price:

Premium/High-End category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 5970
  • ATI Radeon HD 5870
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 285

Performance-Mainstream category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 5850
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 275
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 260

Mainstream category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 5750
  • ATI Radeon HD 5670
  • ATI Radeon HD 5570
  • Nvidia GeForce GTS 250
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 240
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 220

We ran the tests in all resolutions including 2560x1600, but only for the first category. Mainstream solutions were tested in the two lowest resolutions.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 can’t boast extensive list of fine tuning options. Whatever is available looks as follows:

Swedish game designers decided to pursue minimalistic approach to fine tuning the graphics settings as seen in the table above. We decided to use a number of modes for our comparative testing, including the most resource hungry with FSAA set at 4 samples and Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion (HBAO) Enabled. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 doesn’t have any built-in benchmarking tools, therefore we used Fraps utility version 3.1.2 in the manual mode to record the average and minimal fps rate. As usual, to minimize the measuring error, we took the average result of three combined runs for further analysis.

 
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