Benchmark Results: Texture Settings
Experience has shown that 512MB of texture memory on a graphics card is often enough even for the highest resolutions, but that there are a handful of titles that can make use of extra memory. Based on our DirectX 9 benchmarks, Aliens vs. Predator looks like it might be one of the exceptions to the rule.
To test the difference that extra memory can make, we re-ran the benchmarks with the normal texture resolution setting instead of the very high texture resolution setting on the graphics cards that have less than 1GB of RAM: the Radeon HD 5670 512MB, the GeForce 9800 GT 512MB, and the GeForce GTX 260 896MB. Our intention was to reduce the frame buffer load, while everything else remained equal. We also included the 1GB GeForce GTS 250 for reference, to make sure that increased texture memory did not offer more performance once the minimum requirement for the normal setting was met.
Note that the performance of the GeForce GTS 250 1GB is stable, regardless of the texture setting, but all of the other cards are showing a sizable boost from the less-complex textures. The extra memory on the GeForce GTX 260 helps it work up to 1920x1080, but at 2560x1600, the reduced RAM load allows it to remain playable.
The results prove our theory. Aliens vs. Predator is a very texture-heavy game, and favors at least 1GB of RAM when the very high and high texture settings are selected. The good news is that, during gameplay, the normal texture setting is still very attractive and doesn't provide much of a detriment to the image quality.