Benchmark Results: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Despite the fact that it’s a very attractive game, Batman enables very playable performance numbers all the way through 2560x1600. The Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 nobly do battle, both outperforming the Radeon HD 5770. ATI’s Radeon HD 5750 is edged out by the GeForce GTS 250—hardly a surprise given this game’s TWIMTBP status.
But the real shocker happens when you enable PhysX in this one. All of the Radeon-based configurations are instantly kneecapped by the technology, while the Nvidia cards see performance roughly halved (though performance is still plenty playable).
I debated the impact of these results as I ran through Batman’s in-game benchmark. On one hand, it’s absolutely frustrating to see performance slow to a crawl in scenes where there is clearly zero benefit to having PhysX enabled. On the other, the use of physics effects in-game is much more compelling. Whether or not this is the future of hardware accelerated physics remains to be seen (if history has taught us anything, the answer is almost assuredly ‘no’). But this is the present. And at present, Batman is made tangibly better by PhysX effects and virtually impossible to play with those settings enabled on an ATI-based card.
Of course, the real value of Nvidia’s competitive advantage—again, at present—has to be weighed against ATI’s support for DirectX 11 (a negligible benefit, currently), Eyefinity (much more exciting for guys like me who run three displays), and bitstreaming HD audio in an HTPC (a reason to buy a second card for the living room).