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Batman: Arkham Asylum: GPUs, CPUs, And PhysX Performance

Test System And Settings

Batman: Arkham Asylum is based on the venerable Unreal 3 Engine, so it doesn't require the most powerful hardware to produce high frame rates. Because of this, we chose the highest visual fidelity options when testing, leaving out only anti-aliasing (AA) and PhysX from our basic settings. We used the in-game benchmark to keep results consistent.

We tested a solid sample of cards from our "Best Graphics Cards for the Money" column. At the time of testing, we didn't have any new ATI Radeon HD 5000-series cards available in our Canada office, but keep in mind that the new 5770 should perform closely to the Radeon HD 4870, and the 5750 will probably perform in the neighborhood of the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250.

Intel Test System (Performance & CPU Benchmarks)AMD Test System(Some CPU Benchmarks)
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield),2.67 GHz, QPI-2400, 8MB CacheAMD Phenom II X4 965 (Deneb),3.4 GHz, 2000 MHz HT, 6MB Cache
MotherboardASRock X58 Supercomputer Intel X58, BIOS P1.90Asus M4A785TD-V EVO AMD 785G, BIOS 0410
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryMushkin PC3-10700 3 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 8-8-8-19 at 1.8VMushkin PC3-10700 3 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 8-8-8-19 at 1.8V
GraphicsSapphire HD4650 512 MB DDR2 PCIeGigabyte GV-N220OC-1GI GeForce GT 220 1 GB DDR3 PCIeGigabyte GV-N96TSL-1GI GeForce 9600 GT 1 GB DDR3 PCIeGigabyte GV-N250ZL-1GI 1 GB DDR3 PCIeAsus EAH4850 MT 512 MB DDR3 PCIeAsus ENGTX260 796 MB DDR3 PCIeATI Radeon HD 4870 Reference PCIe
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA, 500GB, 7,200 RPM, 8MB cache, SATA 3.0 GB/sWestern Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
PowerThermaltake Toughpower 1200W1,200W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91ePower EP-1200P10-T21,200W, ATX 12V, EPS 12v
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1Microsoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 10DirectX 11
Graphics DriversNvidia ForceWare 191.07, ATI Catalyst 9.9
  • burnley14
    Excellent article as usual, Mr. Woligroski. Keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • Kohlhagen
    I just bought an ATI 5000 series card.. can i use my second PCI-E slot with the nvidia 220 to support physX? (i doubt it because AMD/Nvidia GPUs together cause driver issues)
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    Don--it's almost as though the game is artificially capping performance at a set level, and is then using only the CPU resources it needs to reach that level. On the Core i7, PhysX is using fewer resources than it does on the Phenom II. This would make sense if there was an artificial performance cap, as the i7 has shown to outperform AMD's architecture.With Nvidia pushing proprietary API's like CUDA and PhysX, they're at a point where these things are some of the largest selling points of their products.

    With this in mind, and given Nvidia's past Anti-Consumer business practices, I think we can all expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future with TWIMTBP games.
    Reply
  • 2shea
    @ kohlhagen: with an ati 5000 card you probably won't need that second card if you don't play on the highest resolution.
    Reply
  • nzprogamer
    im a big fan of amd and im planing to buy the xfx 4850 in the weekend but the gts250 just add another $5-10 i think i will buy the GTS-250. come on ATI
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Wow... that's pathetic. This game should have the words stamped on it: Nvidia only!
    Reply
  • noob2222
    Interesting find on the CPU useage with ATI cards. It would appear that Nvidia programmed Physix not to unload programming to the cpu, instead forcing it to the GPU only. Just a speculation since it is thier option.
    Reply
  • sohei
    this game runs great on any hardware but but , nvidia is just nvidia
    why you sell a game to all the people when is just for nvidia cards ?
    that.s why i love google.... google sell free things, nvidia is the opposite
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    NPD numbers show this game as currently being one of the least popular PC games - 92nd in fact.

    Nice article BTW, it's sad that the developers were paid off by Nvidia to drop support of AA on AMD cards (in game menu AA support that, there is a work round for ATI cards) as this shows just how morally bankrupt Nvidia is these days.

    And just for the record this isn't a case of AMD not 'supporting developers' as Nvidia would lead you to believe. Never mind the fact it can be enabled via a hack, Richard Hubby from AMD has uploaded an email he got from the developers of Batman Arkham Asylum saying there would be lawsuit if they changed to games code to enable game menu support of AA on ATI cards.
    Reply
  • sohei
    when you benchmarked intel cpu you use turbo feature? tom
    Reply