Articles: Graphics

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Testbed and Methods

To investigate the performance of contemporary graphics accelerators in Call of Duty: World at War we put together the following testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition processor (3.2GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Asus P6T Deluxe mainboard (Intel X58 chipset)
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3x2GB, 1333MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 HDD (250GB, Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer);
  • Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL 1000W power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600@60Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit;
  • ATI Catalyst 8.12 for ATI Radeon HD
  • Nvidia GeForce 180.48 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce

According to our testing methodology, the drivers were set up to provide the highest possible quality of texture filtering and to minimize the effect of software optimizations used by default. We enabled transparent texture antialiasing, and we used multisampling mode for both graphics architectures, because ATI solutions do not support supersampling for this function. 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
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Other settings: default

14 graphics cards and multi-GPU systems 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 4870 3-way CrossFire
  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 SLI
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 280

Performance-Mainstream category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 Core 216
  • Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+

Mainstream category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4830
  • ATI Radeon HD 4670
  • Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT
  • Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT

We ran the tests in all resolutions including 2560x1600 only for the Premium category. Performance-Mainstream was limited by 1920x1200. Mainstream solutions were tested in 1680x1050 max. The game doesn’t have strictly defined image quality profiles, but allows manually adjusting a number of parameters as well as managing the texture resolutions, normal maps and reflection maps. We arranged the image quality settings into 5 profiles in order to study the instantaneous performance. Here they are:

We used the last one providing maximum image quality to study the graphics cards gaming performance in Call of Duty: World at War. The test sequence included a run in the beginning of the game (from the military prisoner torture facility) to the first check point and back. We used Fraps utility version 2.9.6 to record the average and minimal fps rate. To minimize the measuring error, we took the average result of three combined runs for further analysis.

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