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Crysis 3 Melts Your Machine, But Low Settings Are Still Beautiful

Crysis 3 Performance, Benchmarked On 16 Graphics Cards
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Crysis 3 gives us more eye candy and a similar combat experience as its predecessor. The highest settings are absolutely brutal on high-end hardware. But there's good news: this game's lowest detail setting looks far better than many other games' highest quality levels, and even a sub-$110 Radeon HD 7750 or GeForce GTX 650 is playable at 1920x1080.

If you want more taxing graphics quality, you'll need at least a Radeon HD 7850 or GeForce GTX 650 Ti to play at that same 1920x1080 resolution. And for access to the very highest detail setting, be ready to shell out for a Radeon HD 7950 with Boost or a GeForce GTX 660 Ti.

Gaming across three screens is increasingly popular, and enthusiasts with three 1920x1080 displays may want to drop to the Medium detail preset in order to encourage playable frame rates. Even then, you'll want at least a GeForce GTX 680 or Radeon HD 7970. Two GeForce GTX 660 Tis in SLI or Radeon HD 7950s in CrossFire are an even better bet.

Most surprising to us is Crysis 3's processor requirements. Our benchmark sequence revealed a huge bottleneck that required a Core i5 or i7 just to maintain a 30 FPS minimum frame rate. Although AMD's FX-8350 achieved an average frame rate equivalent to the Core i5-3550, its minimum dips to 21 FPS, causing us to back off from awarding a full recommendation. If a performance-enhancing patch is rolled out, as it was with Skyrim, we'll certainly reconsider.

Crytek went back to its roots with a PC-oriented first-person shoot that pushes the boundaries of graphics quality on today's highest-end hardware. It may not redefine the genre in any way, but it's certainly worth playing through.


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