Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Performance Analysis


After looking at the test data, our conclusion is simple: Burnout Paradise is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but it’s also very easy on the hardware.

To run the game at 1920x1200 with 8x MSAA applied, you only need a graphics card as powerful as a GeForce 9600 GT or better. A Core 2 Duo running at about 2.5 GHz can supply 60 FPS while a triple- or quad-core CPU, such as the Phenom II or Core 2 Quad, could probably do the job at 2.0 GHz or faster.

These are not monster specifications when it comes to 1920x1200 gaming with high AA. And if you’re running an HTPC with a 720p display, you can handle 4x MSAA with only a Radeon HD 4650.

The fact that the game is so hardware-friendly is impressive and speaks to how well optimized the Burnout Paradise engine really is. Kudos to Criterion Games for not only making an extremely playable and fun game, but for making a title that is so easy to run on common hardware.

The only downside we can see to this title is that it looks as though the SSAO feature was never properly implemented. The dark halos on the telephone wires and the like are so distracting that they completely offset the benefits of SSAO in the first place. But the good news is that the game is still visually immersive, even without the feature enabled, especially since 8xMSAA is so accessible.

If you’re a racing fan with a PC and haven’t had a chance to buy this game for your console, you owe it to yourself to give the demo a download on your PC and try it out.

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  • 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
  • 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.
  • Considering how 'hardware friendly' is this game, probably it will be very successful.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • A great and thorough article. Good job Toms :)
  • @ DjEaZy

    50~100fps ?
    How were you able to get past the 60 ceiling into the 100's?
  • 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.
  • ... 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...
  • ATI image quality blows Nvidia away, hands down. (for the record I own a GeForce so no ATI fanboy here)
  • 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."
  • 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)
  • "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.
  • ... maybe a glitch in FRAPS?!...
  • 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.