Prototype Performance Analyzed

Test System And Benchmark Settings

Right out of the gate, Prototype is not an ideal benchmarking candidate. The title has no built-in benchmarking tool, and to make matters worse, every time a saved game is loaded the player is placed at the same position on the map, but at a different time of day. Because of this, every benchmark run has its own unique rendering challenges. The map is also populated differently on each load, with helicopters, enemies, tanks, cars, and people in different locations, so no two benchmark runs are the same. We must keep this in mind when interpreting the results, so as not to assign too much significance to minor differences.

Note that we used two test systems: a Core i7-920-based system for the majority of the benchmarks and a Core 2 Quad Q6600-based system to demonstrate what slower CPU architecture, lower clock speeds, and fewer CPU cores would provide in the way of performance.

Once again, we chose a range of graphics cards from our “Best Graphics Cards for the Money” monthly recommendations for our tests. This gives us a nice broad spectrum of cards to scrutinize from a range of budgets. The only note here is that our Radeon HD 4870 benchmarks were performed by underclocking a reference Radeon HD 4890 down to Radeon HD 4870 speeds, which should deliver reference Radeon HD 4870 performance (as the Radeon HD 4890 is essentially an overclocked Radeon HD 4870).

Graphic Test SystemCPU Test System

Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem),
2.67 GHz, QPI-2400, 8 MB Cache

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (Kentsfield),
2.7 GHz, FSB-1200, 8 MB Cache


ASRock X58 Supercomputer
Intel X58, BIOS P1.90

MSI P7N SLI Platinum
Nvidia nForce 750i, BIOS A2

Onboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller

Onboard nForce 750i Gigabit Ethernet


Mushkin PC3-10700
3 x 2,048 MB, DDR3-1066, CL 8-8-8-19 at 1.8 V

A-Data Extreme DDR2 800+
2 x 2,048 MB, DDR2-800, CL 5-5-5-18 at 1.8 V


Sapphire HD4650 512 MB DDR2 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-N96TSL-1GI 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Diamond Radeon HD 4770 512 MB DDR5 PCIe
Powercolor AX4830 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
Gigabyte GV-NX88T512HPV1 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
Asus EAH4850 MT 512 MB DDR3 PCIe
Asus ENGTX260 796 MB DDR3 PCIe
ATI Radeon HD 4870 reference

Asus ENGTX260 796 MB DDR3 PCIe

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3.0 GB/s

Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3.0 GB/s


Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W
1,200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91

Ultra HE1000X
ATX 2.2, 1,000 W

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX versionDirectX 10
Graphics Drivers

Nvidia GeForce 186.18, Catalyst 9.6

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  • Wayoffbase
    I don't see anyone upgrading from a C2Q to an i7 for a game that's just not all that great looking on high settings, the performance discrepency there was odd. The gameplay itself looks like it might be interesting though.
  • Ramar
    Already beat the game a week ago, but it was a thrill-ride. Not sure why the article's so late getting up though.

    At the least, it'll convince people that their older rigs -can- run it. It's basically an optimized and mostly un-buggy Web Of Shadows engine; I'd expect a 7800GT could probably run it okay.
  • Ramar
    Wayoffbase...just not all that great looking on high settings,...

    In action it's much better than these screenshots. It pulls a lot of the same tricks MGS4 does on the PS3, where you can tell it's not actually doing that much processing but it looks like it is. Screenshots don't do the game justice because you rarely see a texture or polygon for more than a few seconds at most; in action the particle effects are actually pretty impressive.
  • apache_lives
    could this be the first game that takes full advantage of an i7's 8 threads?
  • mcbowler
    Hmm.. all its takes is an XBOX 360! $200.00 It is a great game.
  • neiroatopelcc
    What happends if you add 8gb ddr2-1200 (ballistix or similar) to the old quadcore ? the i7 had 50% more memory available as well after all - if the game's 64 bit enabled, perhaps the difference isn't the cpu alone - since even at 2.4 the difference is huge.
    Even saints row, which has shit for graphics, runs close to the 2gb memory limit of 32bit games all the time - so perhaps this actually uses whatever is available?

    I saw this game a few weeks ago running great on a laptop that usually does inventor stuff ... I don't know what processor was in it, but I bet no more than an old dualcore T something processor
  • radium69
    My Q6600 @ 3.0 Ghz and Geforce GTS 512 runs this game flawless on high settings. I've tried with aa on 4x but found it runnign at 20fps sometimes. It's a fun game. And not to hard on resources.
  • Tknockers
    p.s. not so great difference between i7 and core2quad on that site..
  • chovav
    my Q6600 @ 3.2Ghz and 8800GT 512mb run the game smoothly at 1980x1080 with anti-aliasing x4 and high details.. I actually don't mind the graphics so much, i think they are better than GTAIV's..

    One of the best games ever BTW!!
  • Anonymous
    Apache Lives: It barely takes advantage of more than 2 real threads on the Core2 quad, why do you think it's using all 8 virtual threads on the i7? It seems Intel want's to push i7 as a gaming CPU(even though everyone knows that C2Q and PhII are just fine), perhaps they struck some kind of deal with the devs? There's no logical reason for how such a CPU spread could happen.
  • neiroatopelcc
    chovavmy Q6600 @ 3.2Ghz and 8800GT 512mb run the game smoothly at 1980x1080 with anti-aliasing x4 and high details.. I actually don't mind the graphics so much, i think they are better than GTAIV's..One of the best games ever BTW!!

    It's not fair to compare a pc game with graphics from a pocket calculator. gta if anything sports only gameplay. Graphics aren't a selling point for that title.
  • JeanLuc
    I see on this page you were a bit stumped by the poor showing of the 8800GT/9800GT when the 9600GT was out preforming it.

    I think the answer is the lack of VRAM on the 8800GT which I believe only had 512Mb where as the 9600GT has a full 1Gb which eliminated any bottlenecks when processing all those textures with 4x AA being applied.
  • goalguy02
    Should throw in a phenom II 940 or 955 as well as test SLI and Crossfire cards. I want to see how well the game scales using SLI
  • San Pedro
    Well, I can run the game maxed with my core 2 at 2.8 ghz and a 512 4870, including 4xaa at 1680x1050. I wasn't impressed with the graphics at all though. I think GTA looks much better. The gameplay didn't do anything for me, but I only gave it about ten minutes of my time, in which it had already felt repetitive. However, maybe I'll go back and give it a longer try.

    Anyway, keep articles like these coming.
  • cracklint
    4870 512, pII 720 black, 4 gig 1066 memory no over clocking - game runs maxed out with v sync enabled. I have yet to find a game that needs more with the exception of Crysis and maybe Far Cry 2. Crysis was good, but not great. Far Cry 2, well... it kinda sucked. I couldn't justify the hundreds of dollars more it would cost to get a good 50fps with max settings out of these 2 games.
  • fadirocks
    Directx 10.1 vs 10.0 anything interesting in that aspect like CPU usage, frame rate...etc?
  • jp182
    I have a phenom II Triple core AM3 running on an AM2+ mobo with 4gigs of ram (really less since its XP 32bit) and an 8600GTS videocard and with high detail and medium shadow at 1680 x 1050 the game runs flawlessly (no AA) and fast. I don't think the frame rate has ever dropped past 25fps.

    So unless this CPU is the business (which it isn't on this platform), anyone with a computer that made in the last 3 years can run this game no problem.
  • jp182
    btw, I'm not really impressed by the game as I thought Infamous was more engaging.
  • doomtomb
    I have a Core 2 Quad (Q9550 @ 3.6GHz), 8GB of RAM, and two GTX 275s. I should be able to play this game maxed out no sweat. It is fine but I drop below 60FPS at many points in the game and I tried using FRAPS to record and it is unplayable, like 5fps. I can in-game record for Left 4 Dead and even GTA IV but this game is unbearable! With my setup, Prototype should be crushed!