Star Trek Online: Game Performance Analyzed And Benchmarked

Test System And Benchmark Settings

First, we need to mention that we tested this title when it was still in open beta. We did use the newest beta patch that was available, but at this stage, performance could increase over time or even at release.

When benchmarking any game, we strive to look for the worst-case scenario, where frames per second (FPS) hit the lowest levels. It makes no sense to benchmark a title in the easiest portion of the game where every system can breeze through. Instead, the useful information is found when the system is brought to its knees.

We had originally thought this would probably be found in the ground missions, as space should be relatively easy to render. Space is, after all, a lot of nothing. However, we were surprised to find that this was not the case. While much of space in STO is easy for the graphics hardware to render, asteroid-rich star scenes brought the FPS to a crawl. We suspect this is because the game actually renders shadows for each asteroid.

The benchmarks were therefore taken in the Elveren system, an asteroid-rich space map in the game's Teneebia sector. Keep in mind that most of the game will perform much better than this worst-case scenario, and we saw much higher frame rates in all of the ground areas and most of the space areas.

We tested with a variety of graphics cards from our monthly "Best Cards For The Money" article.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Graphic Test System
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8MB CacheOverclocked to 3.06 GHz @ 153 MHz BCLK
MotherboardASRock X58 SuperComputer Intel X58, BIOS P1.90
NetworkingOnboard Realtek Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryKingston PC3-10700 3 x 1,024MB, DDR3-1225, CL 9-9-9-22-1T
GraphicsSapphire HD4650 512MB DDR2Gigabyte GV-N96TSL-1GI GeForce 9600 GT 1GB DDR3Asus Radeon HD 4850 512MB DDR5Asus ENGTS250 DK 1GB DDR3XFX Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5Asus ENGTX260 796MB DDR3ATI Radeon HD 4890 Reference 1GB GDDR5XFX Radeon HD 5850 Black Edition 1GB GDDR5*all clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA, 500GB, 7,200 RPM, 8MB cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s
PowerThermaltake Toughpower 1,200W1,200W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX versionDirectX 10
Graphics DriversAMD Catalyst 9.12, Nvidia GeForce Driver 195.62
  • Silmarunya
    jdh64Admit it TOMS......Geforce rules this games as well as others.......quit being ATI fanbois......Wait till the new series of cards comes out....then whatcha gunna do...cry!!!!
    Not really. This is just about the only benchmark where a Geforce card beats a comparable 5000-series one, so there's still a nice lead for the 5000 cards. With a driver update, this result can change in favor of the 5000, which would give them back every game tested here...

    And nobody should be very concerned about the GTX 300, at least not for the first year and a half. The initial mammoth chip will be expensive, hot, noisy and more powerful than useful for gaming. By the time it scaled down properly, ATI will have refreshed cards in the market for a while, probably offering better performance, lower power consumption and more features for a similar price tag.

  • gilbertfh
    This game looks interesting and could be a good diversion once in a while but I can't really see it replacing the games I am playing now. I have played other cryptic studios games and they really didn't engage me for long. If I buy it I will at least play it for the included month before purchasing a subscription.
  • toxxel
    If your interested in playing this game give it 6 months or so. Currently there is no content at max level, and it takes less than a week to hit max rank. Klingons only have pvp content but more is promised for both factions. Server instability and downtime have plagued launch mostly for the overwhelming player base and not being prepared.

    I for one would wonder how this and Champions Online run since ST:O runs on a modified CO engine.
  • footsoldier
    Sh*t game. Sh*t graphics. But, good article. Geforce do weirdly beats 5000s tho, maybe some driver updates will fix it.
  • JeanLuc
    How does such an ugly game mange to tax state of the art video cards?
  • notty22
    Star Trek and Nvidia ROCK, thats not news to people in the Know. I feel sorry for ati***s scared of Fermi.:)
  • jennyh
    I guess Nvidia leaned on Don after this months "Best gaming graphics card".

    Batman AA was the last one of these reviews I believe. Either way, twice in the past 4 months you've managed to review games that go quite wildly against the norm in terms of the gtx260's actual potency.
  • cypeq
    it is a shameless advertisment...
  • cypeq
    notty22I feel sorry for ati***s scared of Fermi.
    I feel sorry for nVidia now becouse roles on marked turned and now nVidia is on position where it needs to chatch up.
  • Onus
    Subscription-based? Pass.