Test System And Benchmark Settings
First, we need to mention that we tested this title when it was still in open beta. We did use the newest beta patch that was available, but at this stage, performance could increase over time or even at release.
When benchmarking any game, we strive to look for the worst-case scenario, where frames per second (FPS) hit the lowest levels. It makes no sense to benchmark a title in the easiest portion of the game where every system can breeze through. Instead, the useful information is found when the system is brought to its knees.
We had originally thought this would probably be found in the ground missions, as space should be relatively easy to render. Space is, after all, a lot of nothing. However, we were surprised to find that this was not the case. While much of space in STO is easy for the graphics hardware to render, asteroid-rich star scenes brought the FPS to a crawl. We suspect this is because the game actually renders shadows for each asteroid.
The benchmarks were therefore taken in the Elveren system, an asteroid-rich space map in the game's Teneebia sector. Keep in mind that most of the game will perform much better than this worst-case scenario, and we saw much higher frame rates in all of the ground areas and most of the space areas.
We tested with a variety of graphics cards from our monthly "Best Cards For The Money" article.
|Graphic Test System|
Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8MB Cache
ASRock X58 SuperComputer
|Networking||Onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller|
Sapphire HD4650 512MB DDR2
*all clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking
Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
Thermaltake Toughpower 1,200W
|Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1|
|DirectX version||DirectX 10|
AMD Catalyst 9.12, Nvidia GeForce Driver 195.62