DiRT 4 Performance Review

CPU, RAM & VRAM Resources

Processor Usage

One thing's for sure: DiRT 4 doesn’t put much stress on our quad-core processor, regardless of graphics preset. The High setting does utilize more CPU resources than Ultra. That's to be expected, though, given a higher frame rate and less work for the GPU to do.

Out of curiosity, we wanted to see if changing the game's artificial intelligence setting influenced CPU utilization. DiRT 4 offers four levels of AI, and to spice things up we changed the test sequence to a rallycross course with five other vehicles on the track.

Two observations jump out: CPU utilization is slightly higher with this type of sequence (and five other vehicles present on the circuit), and the AI difficulty level has no appreciable impact on processor utilization.

System Memory Usage

The GeForce cards impose a little more system memory use than the Radeons, but the difference is modest. Also, changing detail levels has no effect on this measurement.

With these values, it is of course necessary to subtract the amount of RAM used by the operating system and its services (around 1.9GB). DiRT 4 is therefore rather economical when it comes to memory utilization.

Video Memory Usage

Even though there is between 6 and 8GB of memory available to the cards in this test, Codemasters' game engine uses markedly less video memory. Perhaps that's the fault of textures with too-little detail.

Furthermore, the GeForce cards have less of their on-board GDDR5 used than the Radeons, though both achieve graphically equivalent results.

MORE: Prey Performance Review

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  • d_kuhn
    Can we get a link to full res images? How are we supposed to compare ultra/high quality images when they're squeezed down into tiny frames. These sort of reviews lose a lot when the accompanying visuals are unusable.
  • Sakkura
    The VRAM usage comparison doesn't take into account that the R9 390 lacks the more efficient compression algorithms that newer cards feature. The RX 480 would likely have compared better against the GTX 1060.

    Another thing: Why are the shadows so much sharper at High than at Ultra?
  • darth_adversor
    I wonder if the 4GB variant of the GTX 1050 would have posted higher framerates on the high preset. That's the model my laptop came equipped with. I paid a little extra, as I was concerned that it would be held back with only 2GB.

    Edit: seeing as how the Asus 6GB 1060 bests the 3GB Gigabyte version, in spite of having less aggressive clocks, I guess I have my answer. Glad I sprung for the 4GB model.
  • in_the_loop
    Softer shadows are more natural looking. It is always like this when raising the settings. You get more softer shadows.
  • Timaphillips
    I'll stick to Dirt Rally.
  • 10tacle
    "The game’s graphics engine isn't extraordinary, and its visuals are merely acceptable. We would have liked to see higher-quality textures, more particles, and a greater effort put toward shadows/lighting."

    Yeah this is a disappointment compared to DiRT Rally which I was an early access adopter of. It is extremely easy on the GPU and at 1440p maxed out everything and 4xMSAA, the built-in bench with my SLI 970s overclocked to 980 reference performance showed ~120fps average. VRAM allocation according to Afterburner was around 2.2GB max. About the same for Grid Autosport as well. Single 970 results in the tests were in the 70s on average and never dipping below 60FPS in minimum.

    Compare ^that^ to the 970 results at only 1080p of this game. Codemasters got sloppy with DiRT 4 it appears. Great gameplay, but from my viewpoint, the increased consumption of GPU resources is disappointing for the results. And what's up with CM ditching the built-in game benchmark they've had in Autosport, Rally, and earlier F1 versions? I'll relinquish this one to PS4 duty. Slack console port attempt. Disappointing, CM.
  • Openupitsdave
    Game looks and runs like garbage on my GTX1080 @ 1440p... Dirt 3 has similar picture quality but way more fps.... Very disappointed with Dirt 4...
  • Sakkura
    19914473 said:
    Softer shadows are more natural looking. It is always like this when raising the settings. You get more softer shadows.

    The shadows are also softer at lower settings though. And they seem to be lower res, such that features are lost (beyond what a bit of softness would warrant).
  • jdwii
    I've never been impressed with the graphics or gameplay from the Dirt series
  • turkey3_scratch
    These slider bars on the images are pretty nifty!