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DiRT 2: DirectX 11 Game Performance Compared And Analyzed

Conclusion

So would we use the DirectX 11 option if our graphics card were equipped with the requisite support? The answer is: sure, as long as the card can handle it at the resolution we're using. When playing the game with a Radeon HD 5750, we probably wouldn't use the DirectX 11 code path unless we had a 1680x1050 or a lower-resolution monitor because we like 4x AA. Armed with a Radeon HD 5850, on the other hand, we'd use DirectX 11 enabled all the way to 2560x1600 with 4x AA, as long as we didn't experience a slowdown in performance (and our experience suggests we would not). But everyone will have their own taste as to what frame rate is comfortable.

Having said that, should you wait for a DirectX 11 card to play DiRT 2? Decidedly, no. The DirectX 9 code path is so slick and beautiful that it's almost impossible to notice the DirectX 11 enhancements while playing. I consider these enhancements a nice subtle bonus if the hardware is there to enjoy it, but the game is practically just as stunning when running in DirectX 9 mode.

Are we saying that DirectX 11 will be useless? Absolutely not. In fact, hardware tessellation and DirectCompute 11 offer potentially massive visual and computational upgrades over DirectX 10. The problem is that, as a racing game, DiRT 2 isn't an ideal title to show off what these features can do. Hardware tessellation is particularly suited to show off organic shapes, but the stars in DiRT 2 are the cars, not the people in the stands. Anyone who wants to see what DirectX 11 hardware tessellation can potentially offer games should look for screenshots of the upcoming Aliens Vs. Predator game by Rebellion--the use of hardware tessellation in the alien models is absolutely drool-worthy.

In the final analysis, DiRT 2 is a great game with fantastic visuals and a very entertaining approach to off-road racing. However, it turns out that folks looking for the definitive DirectX 11 killer app will have to wait a bit longer, as the visual enhancements it offers aren't particularly noticeable in this title. But the option to use this new API certainly doesn't detract from DiRT 2, which is a laudable game that offers an enjoyable, compelling, and unique experience in the racing genre.

  • eklipz330
    im sure when true dx11 games come out, the difference won't be so subtle anymore.. game looks great either way
    Reply
  • rbarone69
    I have to say, Dirt 2 is a great game if you like the rally/baja type car racing. Regardless of the graphics differences the game play is simply fun. It's not "real to life" like Forza, but it is a blast playing if you like sliding around corners on track that's not necessarily pavement.

    Reply
  • Onyx2291
    Looks good, gotta be honest though I probably wouldn't see much of a difference if I just played the game without taking a good look at stuff. Maybe except for the water.
    Reply
  • Sihastru
    One down, one or two to go ;)

    Until DX11 does not become mainstream (eg. 90% of the users will have DX11 capable cards) you can't expect to see differences between DX11 and DX9/10 modes. Why? Because they won't make games where one player sees something and the other does not, to the point that will actually mean something and affect the gameplay.

    So anyone that bought the cards for DX11 will not get anything extra from the DX11 code path. No developer that wants to sell a game would code it so that you'd need a new card to play the game. They would not shoot themselves in the foot.

    DX11 is now in the position PhysX was, and I'm not necessarily speaking about the CUDA PhysX version, but the original PhysX by Ageia, when you needed a PCI card for it. It had and still has great potential, but you can't use it to it's full extent until people embrace it and make it mainstream. Until then, all the developers can do is to use certain features here and there, so that it gives you a glimpse of what it could be, but not so much that it makes a difference and modifies the experience too much. They just don't want to give up customers, it's not just that they don't want to use the technology.

    And when DX11 finally becomes mainstream, in 6-12-18 months, the current DX11 cards will be nearly obsolete performance wise... truly tragic. But that's the way the cookie crumbles...

    It's a bit of a troll-ish post (it may seem that way, if you have an ATI DX11 card), and I will get "-1" all round but it's the truth if you think about it from a safe distance. Too bad you... yes... you... the one clicking the "Useless message" icon, won't even get to this last paragraph.
    Reply
  • coolronz
    DirectCompute 11..? Doesnt my GTX260 support that? So will I beable to enable that, but not hardware tesselation etc..?
    Reply
  • cryogenic
    Dirt 2 uses a DX 9 engine, so I guess this is not such a big surprise, although I've expected more from DX 11 integration, actually **allot** more, considering that the game was marketed as the first DX 11 title out there.

    It's rather disappointing to see such small visual differences between DX9 and DX11 versions, even though I've never expected rather major ones from this title.

    My hope is that DX 11 will become mainstream very fast, and developers will focus on getting the most out of it soon. Congrats to all that got DX 11 cards this christmas(me included). The DX9 performace is great and the fact that DX11 gains market share is even greater.






    Reply
  • cryogenic
    Dirt 2 uses a DX 9 engine, so I guess this is not such a big surprise, although I've expected more from DX 11 integration, actually **allot** more, considering that the game was marketed as the first DX 11 title out there.

    It's rather disappointing to see such small visual differences between DX9 and DX11 versions, even though I've never expected rather major ones from this title.

    My hope is that DX 11 will become mainstream very fast, and developers will focus on getting the most out of it soon. Congrats to all that got DX 11 cards this christmas(me included). The DX9 performace is great and the fact that DX11 gains market share is even greater.
    Reply
  • frederico
    "And when DX11 finally becomes mainstream, in 6-12-18 months, the current DX11 cards will be nearly obsolete performance wise... truly tragic. But that's the way the cookie crumbles..."

    I think, I'm not sure though, but I think he is somehow trying to say that in the 'future' your DX11 graphics card may need to be upgraded to a more powerful DX11 graphics card. Something that has been happening with every graphics card for the last 20 years. I am not sure I can deal with all the tragedy.
    Reply
  • h83
    I could be wrong, but i think that the only game that will probably show the full potential of DX11 it´s going to be Crysis 2, so prepare your wallets for the PC upgrade...
    Reply
  • LATTEH
    dirt 2 looks awesome in DX 9 or DX11 anyone who buys it will be able to enjoy its beauty
    Reply