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Test System And Settings

Batman: Arkham Asylum: GPUs, CPUs, And PhysX Performance
By

Batman: Arkham Asylum is based on the venerable Unreal 3 Engine, so it doesn't require the most powerful hardware to produce high frame rates. Because of this, we chose the highest visual fidelity options when testing, leaving out only anti-aliasing (AA) and PhysX from our basic settings. We used the in-game benchmark to keep results consistent.

We tested a solid sample of cards from our "Best Graphics Cards for the Money" column. At the time of testing, we didn't have any new ATI Radeon HD 5000-series cards available in our Canada office, but keep in mind that the new 5770 should perform closely to the Radeon HD 4870, and the 5750 will probably perform in the neighborhood of the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250.


Intel Test System
(Performance & CPU Benchmarks)
AMD Test System
(Some CPU Benchmarks)
CPU

Intel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield),
2.67 GHz, QPI-2400, 8MB Cache

AMD Phenom II X4 965 (Deneb),
3.4 GHz, 2000 MHz HT, 6MB Cache

Motherboard

ASRock X58 Supercomputer
Intel X58, BIOS P1.90

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO
AMD 785G, BIOS 0410

Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Mushkin PC3-10700
3 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 8-8-8-19 at 1.8V

Mushkin PC3-10700
3 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 8-8-8-19 at 1.8V

Graphics

Sapphire HD4650 512 MB DDR2 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-N220OC-1GI GeForce GT 220 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-N96TSL-1GI GeForce 9600 GT 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-N250ZL-1GI 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Asus EAH4850 MT 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
Asus ENGTX260 796 MB DDR3 PCIe
ATI Radeon HD 4870 Reference PCIe

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500GB, 7,200 RPM, 8MB cache, SATA 3.0 GB/s

Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Power

Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W
1,200W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91

ePower EP-1200P10-T2
1,200W, ATX 12V, EPS 12v

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1 Microsoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 10DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

Nvidia ForceWare 191.07, ATI Catalyst 9.9

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 9, 2009 7:33 AM
    NPD numbers show this game as currently being one of the least popular PC games - 92nd in fact.

    Nice article BTW, it's sad that the developers were paid off by Nvidia to drop support of AA on AMD cards (in game menu AA support that, there is a work round for ATI cards) as this shows just how morally bankrupt Nvidia is these days.

    And just for the record this isn't a case of AMD not 'supporting developers' as Nvidia would lead you to believe. Never mind the fact it can be enabled via a hack, Richard Hubby from AMD has uploaded an email he got from the developers of Batman Arkham Asylum saying there would be lawsuit if they changed to games code to enable game menu support of AA on ATI cards.
  • 11 Hide
    curnel_D , November 9, 2009 6:23 AM
    Don--it's almost as though the game is artificially capping performance at a set level, and is then using only the CPU resources it needs to reach that level. On the Core i7, PhysX is using fewer resources than it does on the Phenom II. This would make sense if there was an artificial performance cap, as the i7 has shown to outperform AMD's architecture.

    With Nvidia pushing proprietary API's like CUDA and PhysX, they're at a point where these things are some of the largest selling points of their products.

    With this in mind, and given Nvidia's past Anti-Consumer business practices, I think we can all expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future with TWIMTBP games.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    burnley14 , November 9, 2009 5:36 AM
    Excellent article as usual, Mr. Woligroski. Keep up the good work!
  • 1 Hide
    Kohlhagen , November 9, 2009 6:03 AM
    I just bought an ATI 5000 series card.. can i use my second PCI-E slot with the nvidia 220 to support physX? (i doubt it because AMD/Nvidia GPUs together cause driver issues)
  • 11 Hide
    curnel_D , November 9, 2009 6:23 AM
    Don--it's almost as though the game is artificially capping performance at a set level, and is then using only the CPU resources it needs to reach that level. On the Core i7, PhysX is using fewer resources than it does on the Phenom II. This would make sense if there was an artificial performance cap, as the i7 has shown to outperform AMD's architecture.

    With Nvidia pushing proprietary API's like CUDA and PhysX, they're at a point where these things are some of the largest selling points of their products.

    With this in mind, and given Nvidia's past Anti-Consumer business practices, I think we can all expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future with TWIMTBP games.
  • -7 Hide
    2shea , November 9, 2009 6:31 AM
    @ kohlhagen: with an ati 5000 card you probably won't need that second card if you don't play on the highest resolution.
  • 6 Hide
    anamaniac , November 9, 2009 6:53 AM
    Wow... that's pathetic. This game should have the words stamped on it: Nvidia only!
  • 4 Hide
    noob2222 , November 9, 2009 7:18 AM
    Interesting find on the CPU useage with ATI cards. It would appear that Nvidia programmed Physix not to unload programming to the cpu, instead forcing it to the GPU only. Just a speculation since it is thier option.
  • -3 Hide
    sohei , November 9, 2009 7:23 AM
    this game runs great on any hardware but but , nvidia is just nvidia
    why you sell a game to all the people when is just for nvidia cards ?
    that.s why i love google.... google sell free things, nvidia is the opposite
  • 12 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 9, 2009 7:33 AM
    NPD numbers show this game as currently being one of the least popular PC games - 92nd in fact.

    Nice article BTW, it's sad that the developers were paid off by Nvidia to drop support of AA on AMD cards (in game menu AA support that, there is a work round for ATI cards) as this shows just how morally bankrupt Nvidia is these days.

    And just for the record this isn't a case of AMD not 'supporting developers' as Nvidia would lead you to believe. Never mind the fact it can be enabled via a hack, Richard Hubby from AMD has uploaded an email he got from the developers of Batman Arkham Asylum saying there would be lawsuit if they changed to games code to enable game menu support of AA on ATI cards.
  • 0 Hide
    sohei , November 9, 2009 7:34 AM
    when you benchmarked intel cpu you use turbo feature? tom
  • 0 Hide
    descendency , November 9, 2009 8:36 AM
    JeanLucthere is a work round for ATI cards) as this shows just how morally bankrupt Nvidia is these days.

    Just don't forget about those morally bankrupt Intel people!!!

    -NVidia.
  • 9 Hide
    curnel_D , November 9, 2009 8:49 AM
    descendencyJust don't forget about those morally bankrupt Intel people!!! -NVidia.

    There's one thing Intel has that Nvidia doesn't: A top performing product. With the 3xx series no where in sight, Nvidia seems to be relying more and more on their proprietary API's to sell their cards.

    While Intel leads the market in innovation, Nvidia seems like they would be completely content leaving graphics technology right where it's at, if they had the choice.
  • 9 Hide
    curnel_D , November 9, 2009 8:53 AM
    KohlhagenI just bought an ATI 5000 series card.. can i use my second PCI-E slot with the nvidia 220 to support physX? (i doubt it because AMD/Nvidia GPUs together cause driver issues)

    Yes, but only through old drivers or a workaround. I'm currently doing the same thing with a 4850x2 and a 9600 GSO.

    The PhysX API is a great thing. The guys who made it had a brilliant thing going. But it'd be a TON better if Nvidia converted it to the OpenCL standard. If they don't, it's going to end up as a 'could have been' technology.
  • 5 Hide
    sohei , November 9, 2009 8:59 AM
    "could have been' great words
  • 3 Hide
    scrumworks , November 9, 2009 9:05 AM
    Tom is pressing hard keeping nvidia in footlights these days. They don't have DX11 and they don't have mainstream/high end 40nm cards. Reviewing twimtbp PhysX title with nvidia's vendor lock AA implementation is one way to show how "nvidia cards rock".
  • -2 Hide
    Ciuy , November 9, 2009 9:10 AM
    PhysX sucks ...
  • 2 Hide
    alterecho , November 9, 2009 9:56 AM
    aa can only be enabled if you have a geforce 8 series in this game. It is
    impossible to use in any ati cards.

    ati changed it's hardware id on one it's card and they were able to
    enable aa and guess what, the performance was same as that of geforce and not much performance hit. i think don forced aa via catalyst which cripples the frames.
  • 1 Hide
    verrul , November 9, 2009 10:13 AM
    wierd with a workaround as others have done ati cards 48xx cards get the free x4 aa something is really fishy with the physix though
  • 1 Hide
    juliom , November 9, 2009 10:22 AM
    scrumworksTom is pressing hard keeping nvidia in footlights these days. They don't have DX11 and they don't have mainstream/high end 40nm cards. Reviewing twimtbp PhysX title with nvidia's vendor lock AA implementation is one way to show how "nvidia cards rock".


    Amen brother...
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2009 10:41 AM
    can anyone show me how to enable PhysX if I only have an ati HD 4870 ? I tought that wasn't possible. But I don't know now after seeing this article...
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