Articles: Graphics

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Testbed and Methods

To investigate the performance of contemporary graphics accelerators in Prince of Persia 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 9.1 for ATI Radeon HD
  • Nvidia GeForce 181.22 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce

The graphics card 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 Nvidia solutions, 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
  • Multi-display mixed-GPU acceleration: Multiple display performance mode
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Other settings: default

15 different 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 285

Performance-Mainstream category:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 280
  • 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 maximum resolution.

The game image quality settings are very simple: besides the resolution and antialiasing mode there is only one additional slider for Graphics Quality adjustment that also allows enabling high-resolution textures. 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 and also consuming the most resources to study the graphics cards gaming performance in Prince of Persia game. The test sequence included the first time Prince meets Elika, because it allows measuring the average and minimal performance more precisely than during a manual run, when it is fairly difficult to repeat the results. 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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