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Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $400 Gaming PC
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Recall last quarter when I asked “What good is a DirectX 11-capable card if it isn’t powerful enough to render the DX11 code path?”

While the Radeon HD 5770 in our June PC handled DX11 all the way up to 1080p, this $400 PC is limited to 1280x1024. However, forcing DX9 does allow smooth 1080p playback at these quality settings.

Remember the blow this $400 PC was dealt in 3DMark Vantage? Well, it happens again here in DiRT2 using Ultra quality 8x MSAA. Even stock, the June $550 PC manages decent framerates at 1080p. Meanwhile, the overclocked $400 PC handles 720p at best. Even in DirectX 9 mode, increasing the resolution beyond 1280x1024 requires lower levels of anti aliasing.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat gives us another look at DX11-based performance. The June PC handles 1080p quite well at the high preset, but I’ll argue the overclocked $400 PC is limited to 720p. While a 43.5 fps average at 1280x1024 may appear playable, the most demanding Sun Shafts test only yields 27.1 fps. At minimum I’d like to see 30 fps in Sun Shafts, typically signifying a 45-48 average score for the four tests.

While we won’t crowd these charts with various rendering code paths, the 48.5 fps average at 720p in DX11 using EFDL (Enhanced Full Dynamic Lighting) is roughly equal to 48.7 fps in DX10 EFDL, but jumps to 65.0 fps with EFDL under DX9. Whatever your preference for tweaking, it is clear that Radeon HD 5670 owners need to (further) reduce some settings if they want to increase resolution.

Increasing the visuals to Ultra details with 4x MSAA just about knocks performance in half. Based on previous results found at the bottom of this page, the game now runs about 8% faster in DX11 versus DX10.1. But even so, the June system would have benefited from a low 720p resolution. Similar to Crysis at Very High details, these settings are completely unreasonable for our $400 September budget box.

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