Articles: Graphics

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Testbed and Methods

To investigate the performance of contemporary graphics accelerators in Metro 2033 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 196.21 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
  • AAMode: 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
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Other settings: default

The game officially supports regular MSAA antialiasing modes, but the current version of Metro 2033 game gets extremely affected by them: the performance immediately drops by more than half, so that even Radeon HD 5970 can’t ensure comfortable gaming fps rates. Therefore, we decided to runs the tests in Very High detail mode with enabled anisotropic filtering but with disabled FSAA, especially since in this case the game does apply some “analytical antialiasing” on its own.

Besides that, we also disabled “Advanced DOF” and “Tesselation” DirectX 11 options, because Nvidia solutions don’t support them and the tests must be performed in fair conditions.

15 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 5830
  • 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 only for the first group of solutions. The second group stopped at 2560x1600, and the third one, the slowest, - at 1680x1050.

Although the game displays detailed info about the features and functionality of its engine, there are very few settings in it: you can only change the overall image quality from “low” to “very high” using “Quality” option or enable/disable the above mentioned DirectX 11 options - “Advanced DOF” and “Tesselation”.



Metro 2033 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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