Articles: Graphics

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Performance in First-Person 3D Shooters

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The game does not use PhysX, so all GeForce GTX 275 based solutions behave in the same manner here. The dual-processor card from EVGA has a somewhat lower result due to the reduced shader domain frequency, but the difference is practically negligible. All of the Nvidia cards deliver a playable frame rate at resolutions up to 2560x1600 whereas the two junior Radeon HD models cannot do that at the highest resolution. The XFX Radeon HD 5850 is beyond competition and shows a blistering speed even at 2560x1600.

Crysis Warhead

The CryEngine 2 is known for its advanced shader effects and, consequently, for its high GPU requirements, but it does not use PhysX. Therefore, if you disable the appropriate option in the driver, you get a small performance gain because the freed GPU resources are utilized for 3D rendering.  The game is not playable on most of the graphics cards as their bottom speed is too low with 4x FSAA even at 1280x1024. The XFX is unrivalled again. Comparable in price to the EVGA, its performance is high enough for comfortable play at 1280x1024.


This game was tested using its integrated benchmark at the highest graphics quality and physical effects settings.

Here, hardware PhysX acceleration determines the very possibility of playing Cryostasis because the game slows down to a slideshow without it. It is thanks to the dedicated PPU that the EVGA card delivers a playable speed at 1280x1024. The ordinary GeForce GTX 275 cannot do that as it lacks computing resources, some of which are busy processing physical effects. Its bottom speed is below playable.

However, as soon as you add a cheap GeForce GT 220 into the system and assign it the job of PhysX acceleration, the graphics subsystem speeds up, ensuring a comfortable frame rate even at 1920x1200! Despite the humble specs of the GT216 core, this hybrid solution is preferable to the EVGA GeForce GTX 275 CO-OP PhysX, even though it requires a second PCI Express x16 slot. There is a lot of mainboards with two graphics slots nowadays. The XFX Radeon HD 5850 Black Edition + GeForce GT 220 tandem looks even better, outperforming the mentioned configuration at every resolution. However, it cannot cope with 2560x1600, either.

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