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Test System And Setup

Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Performance Analysis
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Up front, we have to say that there is no way to turn off vsync in this game. Forcing vsync off with the Radeon or GeForce drivers had no effect.

While EA was nice enough to provide us with testing materials, it wasn't able to give us access to the developers to see if there was a way around the vsync limitation for our benchmarks. Regardless, we will benchmark with a 60 frame per second (FPS) limit cap, and this will reflect exactly the kind of experience that you, the user, will have.

A note about the test system we used for the benchmarks: there is no need to worry that the Q6600 Core 2 Quad CPU overclocked to 2.7 GHz is causing a bottleneck, since our tests showed that this is way more than the game needs to reach its maximum potential. More on that later, though.

We chose a range of graphics cards to test, most of them from our "Best Cards for the Money" monthly recommendations. This gives us a nice, broad spectrum of cards to scrutinize from a range of budgets.

System Hardware
Processor(s)Intel Core 2 Duo Q6600 (Kentsfield), 2.7 GHz, FSB-1200, 8 MB Cache
PlatformMSI P7N SLI Platinum
Nvidia nForce 750i, BIOS A2
RAMA-Data EXTREME DDR2 800+
2x 2,048 MB, DDR2-800, CL 5-5-5-18 at 1.8 V
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA, 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3.0 GB/s
Networking
On-Board nForce 750i Gigabit Ethernet
Graphics CardsSapphire HD4650 512 MB DDR2 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-N96TSL-1GI 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Powercolor AX4830 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
Asus ENGTS250 DK 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Asus EAH4850 MT 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
ASUS ENGTX260 796 MB DDR3 PCIe
Power Supply
Ultra HE1000X, ATX 2.2, 1000W
Software and Drivers
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX Version
DirectX 10
Platform Driver
nForce Driver Version 15.25
Graphics Driver ATI Catalyst 9.3
Nvidia Forceware 182.08
3D Game Benchmarks and Settings
Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box
Version 1.1, Video Quality: All settings at maximum, Demo: Tom's Custom benchmark and FRAPS
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  • -4 Hide
    cruiseoveride , May 14, 2009 6:50 AM
    Where is the people's champion? The HD4870?

    I felt the lighting looked a little more natural on the geforce. The colour on the radeon looked better though
  • 1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 14, 2009 7:17 AM
    I like the nvidia shadows more makes it less bland look imo a more definitive look which i like.

    I was wonding why no 4870 like above.

    SSAO on :)  reminds me of ripping dvd's and messing with sharpness, debanding etc the telephone wire atleast.
  • 2 Hide
    enterco , May 14, 2009 7:20 AM
    Considering how 'hardware friendly' is this game, probably it will be very successful.
  • -4 Hide
    SpadeM , May 14, 2009 7:22 AM
    The first screen shot comparison is quite tricky :)  on the first look you might think the geforce does not render the red car at all.
  • 1 Hide
    ufo_warviper , May 14, 2009 7:27 AM
    Nice article so far. I'm still reading the article, but I just wanted to point out that on page 7 of this review, I think the author somehow confused (a couple times) the 4830 with the 4850, and also the GTS 250 with the GTX 260 cards.

    Quote:

    With the resolution increased to 1920x1200, only the Radeon HD 4830 and GeForce GTS 250 barely pass the playable standard with over 30 FPS minimum frame rates.


    Clearly, he meant the other cards here.
  • 2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 14, 2009 8:14 AM
    SpadeMThe first screen shot comparison is quite tricky on the first look you might think the geforce does not render the red car at all.

    A roll over png or jpg would have probably done better then the color restrivie .gif that was used, Shame that IE8 doesn't support APNG like opera and ff does, it would def make the format much more popular.
  • 3 Hide
    chyll2 , May 14, 2009 8:23 AM
    I really like the additional benchmark that imitates different number of cores and clocks. It gives us an idea of performance we would get on similar specs with our system.
  • 2 Hide
    linaaslt , May 14, 2009 10:28 AM
    Somehow i missed benches from hd4770 or 4870/4890 and gtx275. but maybe it's because this game doesn't require good GPU to be playable.
  • 0 Hide
    zehpavora , May 14, 2009 11:33 AM
    I think that, if you want to play this game with 8x MSAA, 8x AA, and High settings, a GTX 275 SLI will work. This game must be amazing at those settings! I like Race Games too, but NSF also lost me on Pro Street. I hope Burnout delivers what EA couldn't...
  • -9 Hide
    DjEaZy , May 14, 2009 11:47 AM
    Phenom 940 @ 3400 [no need to amp voltage]
    HD4870 core@790 GRAM512Mb@4400Mhz
    2x2GB 1066Mhz 5-5-5-15
    this all on 22"@1680x1050 all fx crankt up...
    50~100fps
  • 0 Hide
    Mottamort , May 14, 2009 11:51 AM
    A great and thorough article. Good job Toms :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Mottamort , May 14, 2009 11:54 AM
    @ DjEaZy

    50~100fps ?
    How were you able to get past the 60 ceiling into the 100's?
  • 1 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , May 14, 2009 12:02 PM
    It's a nice game alright, but it has one drawback that offsets how easy it is to run it. It has no LAN only gaming options, so how little hardware is required becomes irrelevant as you're forced to have internet access to play with your own family.
  • -5 Hide
    DjEaZy , May 14, 2009 12:03 PM
    ... tha 100fps iz rear in the hills... just turned v-sync off and turn up tha AMD fusion tool... it's rear, that it drops below 50fps...
  • -1 Hide
    cknobman , May 14, 2009 1:22 PM
    ATI image quality blows Nvidia away, hands down. (for the record I own a GeForce so no ATI fanboy here)
  • -1 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , May 14, 2009 1:24 PM
    DjEaZy... tha 100fps iz rear in the hills... just turned v-sync off and turn up tha AMD fusion tool... it's rear, that it drops below 50fps...



    That's funny. I guess Don was lying to us when he wrote the following...

    "While EA was nice enough to provide us with testing materials, it wasn't able to give us access to the developers to see if there was a way around the vsync limitation for our benchmarks. Regardless, we will benchmark with a 60 frame per second (FPS) limit cap, and this will reflect exactly the kind of experience that you, the user, will have."
  • -1 Hide
    erloas , May 14, 2009 2:13 PM
    Well the 60Hz V-sync limit is only the limit if that is what your monitor refreshed at. If someone has a good quality CRT still its very possible to have them with refresh rates in the 75-85Hz range. I haven't see any with 100Hz refresh yet. (I happen to be using a 21" CRT still that does 75Hz at 1600x1200. I've got a 26" LCD in the mail though, we'll see how they compare)
  • 0 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , May 14, 2009 2:26 PM
    "Up front, we have to say that there is no way to turn off vsync in this game. Forcing vsync off with the Radeon or GeForce drivers had no effect."

    "It looks like every card we tested is bumping up against the 60 FPS vsync limit"

    "hitting the 60 FPS vsync barrier"

    "still hitting the vsync barrier, suggesting it has more to give"

    Everyone claiming they reached higher fps rates please post how you did it and show screenshots for proof.
  • -3 Hide
    DjEaZy , May 14, 2009 2:28 PM
    ... maybe a glitch in FRAPS?!...
  • 0 Hide
    Geibys , May 14, 2009 3:23 PM
    Liked the article but when they do game reviews or tests like this article why don't they use the Nvidia Performance to crank up the settings to 16xQ in the control panel to see if there is a difference, especially with the new Antialiasing SLI mode.
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