11 - Game performance: Mass Effect | Race Driver GRID
Setup your monitor
Make sure before playing games to set up your monitors contrast & brightness levels. A very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have setup your monitors improper. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling that a reader can't distinguish the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly setup.
This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be roughly visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. As well, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.
"Single" Card performance
Gaming: Mass Effect
Controversial, new and definitely one of the bigger titles of the year. Mass Effect from BioWare. Originally released for the XBOX 360 it unveiled a vast, beautiful galaxy populated by diverse, fascinating alien races. Players stepped onto this stage as Commander Shepard, a hero at the vanguard of humanity's ascension in the arena of galactic politics, and thus began an epic story bolstered by engaging characters and rich, branching dialogue.
Set 200 years in the future in an epic universe, Mass Effect places gamers in a vast galactic community in danger of being conquered by a legendary agent gone rogue. A spectacular new vision from legendary developers BioWare, Mass Effect challenges players to lead a squad of freedom fighters as they struggle against threatening armies to restore peace in the land.
Mass effect is one of the best games I have played this year. I just had to include in our benchmark suite. We had to overcome some problems though, a framerate cap was removed and the game actually does not support AA. It does however show really awesome graphics, complex facial animations and applies a noise filter just to get you that really nice cinematic feeling. Overall one of the better games I've played this year so far. Definitely pick it up.
We covered all the bases and cards in previous reviews, plus you can compare numbers in our VGA charts, so for this review I wanted to keep things simple and straight forward so we can nicely show the performance scaling.
Mass Effect Settings:
- Noise Filter on
- Textures: Extreme high
- Filter: Anisotropic
- Everything maxed out
Again I really like this game, the screenshot below is literally the quality you play at. Throughout the entire single-card test we used a Radeon HD4870, HD 4870 Crossfire, the 480 X2 and then on NVIDIA's side the GeForce GTX 260 and 280. As you can see the new drivers we were able to play around with made the X2 really close to a 4870 setup in Crossfire.
The performance is incredible and really starts to show after 1600x1200. That is seriously fast game rendering folks.
Gaming: Race Driver - GRID
Codemasters has released Race Driver: GRID, offering many Race events to compete in. Description is: "Charge a Ford Mustang GTR muscle car through the iconic streets of San Francisco, race a BMW 320Si in the Jarama Touring Car Race and drift around the docks of Yokohama in a Nissan Silvia S15. Race against 11 friends on your favorite track and test your metal online or prove yourself in the single player game." GRID is a stunning game with a great racing feel, but most of all excellent graphics.
Based on the Ultra image quality settings you are looking at resolutions from 10x7 up to the 4M+ pixels counting 2560x1600. To spice image quality up, we enabled 4xMSAA as well. Typically I say try to ignore 2560x1600, the game runs out of memory there with 512MB graphics cards. Yet for the cards used today, that's not an issue except for the 4870 512MB (as clearly is showing). That is just incredible performance there. But again, after 1600x1200 you start seeing the fruits of all that hard labor.
This literally is the game rendering quality you are playing in.