Image Quality Tests
We used the following graphics quality settings for these tests:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution provides enough flexibility in choosing the quality of its visuals. You can choose from three antialiasing methods: FXAA, MLAA and Edge AA. Let’s see which method is best and try to find a balance between speed and quality. We’ll also find out how the frame rate of the game depends on the CPU speed.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution looks amazing when you see it for the first time at the highest settings. It’s only after a while that you get to notice certain shortcomings. Despite the enabled tessellation, the character models are not immaculate. Even morphological filtering (MLAA) cannot help to smooth out every edge, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see jaggies instead of straight lines.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is indifferent to the CPU speed at the maximum quality settings. The extra 700 MHz of clock rate does not increase the frame rate of the system equipped with an AMD Radeon HD 6950 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
The FXAA profile is second in complexity. The single difference from the previous profile is the use of fast approximate antialiasing. There are three levels (Low, Medium and High) for this profile but they seemed the same to us in terms of both image quality and frame rate. As a matter of fact, it is hard to find a difference between FXAA and MLAA, too.
Using FXAA instead of MLAA doesn’t change the game’s behavior in the CPU test. It remains indifferent to our increasing the CPU clock rate.
If you can’t get a playable frame rate with the previous two profiles, there is a third method of antialiasing for you. Instead of smoothing out each edge in the frame, the Edge AA method does that for predefined objects only. This helps lower the GPU load but the objects not covered by Edge AA will have jaggies. The speed gain is only about 5% but the lack of full-featured antialiasing is not so easy to spot due to the abundance of post effects and various image filters.
It is still the graphics card that acts the bottleneck in the Edge AA mode, so there is no point in overclocking your CPU or using a faster one here.
Give up all antialiasing and lower the shadow quality, screen space ambient occlusion and depth of field settings, and you can make the game run at twice its earlier frame rate. You won't have to worry about the slow hacking menu with the seconds ticking away way too rapidly. The game still looks attractive, so the Normal profile is indeed suitable for normal play.
The CPU of our testbed seems to affect the overall performance now. We observe a 10% increase in average frame rate when overclocking it from 2.66 to 3.33 GHz.
The frame rate doubles once again as the Low graphics quality mode surprises us with its satisfactory visuals despite the lack of any special effects or even shadows, let alone tessellation and post-processing. The single notable downside of this mode is that the changed color palette changes the overall impression from the Deus Ex world.
Like in the previous mode, the extra processing power of the CPU provides a 10% increase in performance. This can hardly be of any practical use since the frame rate is as high as 150 fps with the Radeon HD 6950 and 190 fps with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.