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Easy On The GPU, Demanding On The CPU

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Performance Analysis
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Let’s start by saying that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an impressive accomplishment that offers unique and satisfying game play. While the overall framework of this title is reminiscent of Mass Effect 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a more intimate experience. For me, the way the story is weaved and the player’s dialogue choices are better executed in Deus Ex. On the down side, combat is hindered by unimpressive enemy AI. Admittedly this is a subjective analysis, but no matter how you slice it Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that many folks will find rewarding to play.

Subway urchins. The city has a lot of people in it, and it seems everyone has their own spoken dialogueSubway urchins. The city has a lot of people in it, and it seems everyone has their own spoken dialogue

Let’s move on to graphics card performance. At low (but attractive) settings using DirectX 9, the game runs smoothly on a GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 or Radeon HD 6570 at 1680x1050. Maximum detail at 1920x1080 with AA enabled requires only a Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTX 550 Ti for a minimum frame rate above 35 FPS. This is outstanding, as the game necessitates a relatively small cash investment in graphics for excellent frame rates.

Another day at the the morgueAnother day at the the morgue

On the other hand, this release requires a decent CPU. And if you're still rocking a dual-core processor, you'll want something in the range of Intel's Sandy Bridge-based Core i3 with Hyper-Threading. One of AMD’s triple-core processors will also do the job, but make sure it's running at at least 2.5 GHz.

That's a turret down there, prepare for painThat's a turret down there, prepare for pain

The First Game To Support AMD's HD3D On Release

Finally, let’s talk about AMD’s HD3D capability. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the first game with native HD3D support (although HD3D support was just added to DiRT3 in a patch; the next HD3D-capable game is slated to be the upcoming Battlefield 3). Unfortunately, like Crysis 2, the in-game solution only works with graphics hardware from one manufacturer: in the case of Deus Ex, that’s AMD’s Radeon HD 5000 or 6000-series cards. Of course, you'll also need a 3D monitor or television that supports AMD's HD3D standard. Indeed, Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology does not support this game without bright and obnoxious lighting artifacts. So, if you want to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 3D, you’re going to need a Radeon. Nvidia might be able to come up with a 3D Vision profile that works with the game, but it hasn't happened yet.

While this review isn’t focused on HD3D, we gave it a try and it worked great at 1080p/24 FPS and 720p/60 FPS (to play at 1080p/60 FPS, you would need a 3D-capable DisplayPort monitor and we don’t have one on-hand). Be particularly careful if this is a path you truly want to go down with a desktop PC, as the list of monitors AMD certifies is still short. Nevertheless, the game performed flawlessly on a Radeon HD 6970, with the exception that SSAO has to be turned off because it causes shadow artifacts when it's enabled.

On a side note, if you're interested in the current state of 3D, stay tuned to Tom’s Hardware for an upcoming article that takes a close look at the competing 3D standards in a large number of games.

Another Blade Runner-ish viewAnother Blade Runner-ish view

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  • 11 Hide
    fyasko , August 25, 2011 8:02 AM
    festerovic@soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?


    HT isn't the reason dual core SB CPU's beat 6 core thubans. SB is a better architecture. Hurry up Bulldozer!
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    festerovic , August 25, 2011 5:44 AM
    @soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...

    Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?
  • 7 Hide
    haplo602 , August 25, 2011 5:53 AM
    nice review, finaly a new DeusEx game for me :-)
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2011 6:02 AM
    Was AMD dual-core optimizer installed?
  • 4 Hide
    gerchokas , August 25, 2011 6:04 AM
    Good article - i still remember when i first saw the 2000' Deus Ex graphics on my friend's then-brand-new pc, i thought 'maaan... this looks *friggin* REAL!' I instantly knew my old Pentium cpu needed replacing ASAP...
    11 years later, i praise again the great graphics.. but this time they havent cought me off-guard!
  • 3 Hide
    tacoslave , August 25, 2011 6:20 AM
    i really wonder how far developers can take the graphics in 3 years.
  • -2 Hide
    aznshinobi , August 25, 2011 6:28 AM
    Hmm... The Nvidia cards perform better than the AMD cards of equivalent rank. I'm not playing fanboy but didn't AMD fund the studio? Afterall Eyefinity was made use of.
  • 9 Hide
    th3loonatic , August 25, 2011 7:41 AM
    Are there any typos? Coz I see a GTX560 Ti listed as a card used to test, but it doesn't appear in the results.
  • 11 Hide
    fyasko , August 25, 2011 8:02 AM
    festerovic@soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?


    HT isn't the reason dual core SB CPU's beat 6 core thubans. SB is a better architecture. Hurry up Bulldozer!
  • 2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 25, 2011 8:08 AM
    @ Don Woligroski
    i want the CPU benchmarks at 1080p with highest settings.
    benches at 1024x768 are irrelevant. the gamer of today is atleast 1680, preferable 1080.
    so please add to the benches. also, this would show the real impact of CPU on FPS.
  • 6 Hide
    mattmock , August 25, 2011 8:14 AM
    I have noticed that the new shader based AA modes do a good job reducing jaggies on edges but in some situations they go overboard and lower the image quality significantly. In far cry 2 screen FXAA heavily blurs the grass and foliage where as MSAA keeps those parts sharp. It still seems like 8xQ MSAA is the best option if you have the horsepower for it. (unless of course you can do SSAA)
    I would like see more comparison shots of the AA modes in DX, especially shots of plants and busy textures like brick and gravel.
  • -5 Hide
    Jax69 , August 25, 2011 8:18 AM
    Don't wanna be a fanboy but, i don't know, HardOCP found that the card to beat is the 6970, i rather trust them than Tom's.
  • 3 Hide
    mattmock , August 25, 2011 8:23 AM
    mayankleoboy1@ Don Woligroskii benches at 1024x768 are irrelevant. the gamer of today is atleast 1680, preferable 1080.so please add to the benches. also, this would show the real impact of CPU on FPS.


    Checkout the steam hardware survey, about 24% are at or below 1280 x 1024. I think there are gamers using laptops or budget screens.
  • 1 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 9:02 AM
    Jax69Don't wanna be a fanboy but, i don't know, HardOCP found that the card to beat is the 6970, i rather trust them than Tom's.


    I thought HardOCP were known to be very biased in favor of AMD/ATI graphics? On the level of banning people on their forums who say good things about Nvidia (iirc). I wouldnt trust them regarding graphics at all, otherwise it's a good site imho.

    I think it's better to check more than two sites if you want a more balanced view, not that Deus Ex needs a state of the art machine.
  • 4 Hide
    Jax69 , August 25, 2011 9:38 AM
    EnkalI thought HardOCP were known to be very biased in favor of AMD/ATI graphics? On the level of banning people on their forums who say good things about Nvidia (iirc). I wouldnt trust them regarding graphics at all, otherwise it's a good site imho.I think it's better to check more than two sites if you want a more balanced view, not that Deus Ex needs a state of the art machine.

    the truth is i never trust just one site, but is funny how every site gives it's own verdict, some are biased some are not. the important thing is to choose whatever meets our expectations regardless the brand.
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , August 25, 2011 10:07 AM
    Great, my GPU will max this out :D 
  • 5 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 10:21 AM
    werner123Another game favored by nvidia, just hope new amd drivers can catch up.


    If I understand correctly the PC version was sponsored by AMD and not Nvidia. I only see an AMD logo on their page and nothing from Nvidia.
  • 1 Hide
    amigafan , August 25, 2011 10:41 AM
    Eh my 6970 could max this out no problem, but my Athlon X2 5600 would choke. Eagerly waiting for Bulldozer...
  • 2 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 11:15 AM
    werner123How do i quote a message? F***


    There is a button just to the left of the "Hide" option to the far right of the name of each poster. it's a blue " and a red +. :) 
  • -8 Hide
    verbalizer , August 25, 2011 11:39 AM
    even though AMD sponsored, it's nVidia that shows you how it's meant to be played. Yes the upper AMD cards can game at max settings and I love Eyefinity but a SLI configuration will rock with this one..
    FYI - we need better resolutions, 1024 x 768, times have changer now.
    1280 x 1024 or better, and extra detail @ 1920 x 1080 would be super.
    for Eyefinity and 2D/3D CFX and SLI, that should be an entire separate article, you agree.?
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