Meet The 2012 Graphics Charts: How We're Testing This Year

DirectX 9 Game Benchmarks

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King?

Even though DirectX 9 ceased to be state-of-the-art on the PC a long time ago, it still has a commanding presence in the market due to games that were primarily written for consoles. In addition to those titles, there are DirectX 9 classics that are still widely played. Therefore, we've picked three games to represent the old DirectX 9 API.

Crysis 2: DirectX 9

Crysis 2 is a fairly recent game that we run both in DirectX 9 and DirectX 11 mode (with HD textures). This also gives us a good frame of reference for evaluating scaling from DX 9 to 11, and that's a fairly unique capability of this title.

We test both Crysis 2 modes with the Adrenaline benchmark tool at preset levels appropriate for each graphics card category.

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Preset LevelResolutionSettings
Entry1280x720DirectX 9, Quality: High, Anti-aliasing: Off, High-Res Textures: Off
Performance1920x1080DirectX 9, Quality: Extreme, Anti-aliasing: Edge Blur, High-Res Textures: Off
Extreme2560x1440DirectX 9, Quality: Ultra, Anti-aliasing: Edge AA, High-Res Textures: On

Grand Theft Auto IV EFLC

GTA IV is an open-world classic that's still being played today. However, we want to point out that the game is not programmed optimally, and even an overclocked Core i7 processor starts to limit the game’s performance when a high-performance graphics card is run at low-quality settings. Anything that performs better than a GeForce GTX 570 is slowed down by our CPU. This is another reason why you should only assess a graphics processor's performance with well-balanced settings. It isn't useful to compare high-end cards at entry-level quality settings.

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Preset LevelResolutionSettings
Entry1280x720DirectX 9, Texture quality: Low, Reflections: Low, Water: Low, Shadows: Low, Anisotropy: x4, Distance (1+2): 25, Traffic: 25
Performance1920x1080DirectX 9, Texture quality: High, Reflections: High, Water: Middle, Shadows: Middle, Anisotropy: x8, Distance (1+2): 35, Traffic: 35
Extreme2560x1440DirectX 9, Texture quality: Highest, Reflections: Highest, Water: Highest, Shadows: Highest, Anisotropy: x16, Distance (1+2): 50, Traffic: 50

Mafia 2

Mafia 2 is a valuable addition to our benchmark suite, as it is still demanding of even current high-end graphics cards, so long as the quality settings are high enough (and even though the game is just a console port). Downloadable content keeps luring players back to this title.

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Preset LevelResolutionSettings
Entry1280x720Anti-aliasing: Off, Anisotropy: x4, Shadows: Low, Ambient occlusion: Off, Geometry: Low
Performance1920x1080Anti-aliasing: On, Anisotropy: x8, Shadows: Normal, Ambient occlusion: On, Geometry: Normal
Extreme2560x1440Anti-aliasing: On, Anisotropy: x6, Shadows: High, Ambient occlusion: On, Geometry: High

Next, we look at our DirectX 11 benchmarks.

  • johnny_utah
    While I love the new techniques, using BITCOIN to bench GPUGPU performance instead of Folding @ Home? Um, okay.
  • Still with the bar charts? Would *love* to see scatter plots with price/score on the axes... So much more useful in picking out a card.
  • AznCracker
    Man the charts are dying to be updated. Too bad it isn't done more often since it takes a lot of work.
  • You havent added how many cheese wheels it can run in skyrim as a benchmark... wth?
  • DjEaZy
    ... i like the pile of card's @ the end of the article.... a beautiful pile...
  • pharoahhalfdead
    johnny_utahWhile I love the new techniques, using BITCOIN to bench GPUGPU performance instead of Folding @ Home? Um, okay.
    I agree. I know Tom's spends a lot of time benchmarking, but Folding@home is something that is a bit more common. I would love to see F@H in some articles.

    BTW, I appreciate all the work you guys do.
  • randomkid
    Where's the 5760x1080? In the area where I come from, 3x 1920x1080p 22" monitor cost around the same or even less than a single 2560x1440/1600 27" monitor so this is a more likely configuration among gamers.

    The 5760x1080 resolution will also push the GPU's harder than a 2560x1440/1600 could so why limit the resolution there?
  • We'll add up to 20 new boards each month until the lower end of the performance range is filled out, too.
    How far back in GPU generations are you going to test, if at all? I saw the power consumption charts and could only see GTX 500, 600 and Radeon 6000, 7000 series. I have an EVGA GTX 480 SC for two years and do like to know how it compares to the newer series of GPUs. Much appreciated.
  • Yargnit
    MMO FanYup no surprise here typical Nvidia benchmark suite fuck sakes.
    So what would YOU like to see used then? If they were trying to push Nvidia wouldn't Hawx 2 be in the suite?
  • shinym
    For Starcraft II you say "This game doesn't stress the CPU, and is thus well-suited for GPU benchmarking." Looks like you got CPU and GPU mixed up there.