As we mentioned above we use both synthetic and real-world testing to give you the full picture of any product. For GPUs the best real world test is in-game testing. Time Demos and benchmarking tools with render engines cannot come close to showing what a graphics card can really do once it is in you system. As such we have chosen five games two DX9, two DX10 and two DX11. These games are Metro 2033, Just Cause 2, Bioshock 2, Battlefield Bad Company 2, FarCry2, and Modern Warfare 2. We played a specific level of each of these and used FRAPS 3.0.3 to measure the ability of our test subjects to render each game. All of the charts below are sorted based on the minimum frames per second each card was able to achieve. We have also pulled out the DX10 based GTX 285 from all of the DX11 games. Modern Warfare 2 [DX9]
The final sequel is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. This game brings the stress and chaos of modern combat to life. It is a very short but very intense game, in it you take on multiple roles as you move through different locations around the globe and engage in all forms of combat. For testing I ran from after you are selected until the liberation of the school. Settings are shown below.
I know what you are thinking; why are we still using games like Modern Warfare 2... well because it is a popular game and it represents a piece of the DX9 puzzle. However, with the debut of the latest CoD: Black Ops, we will be refreshing the test suite. Here the GTX580 came in 5 FPS faster than the HD5870 Stalker Edition from Asus [while the Stalker was overclocked]. It is still 23 FPS behind the HD5970, but then again at speeds of over 100 FPS MINIMUM I doubt you would be able to tell them apart from watching them on the monitor.Battlefield Bad Company 2 [DX11]
Another game in the BF franchise this one takes a stab at a more modern form of warfare. You do start off toward the end of WWII but soon are in the future [present?] for the single player campaign. The game features some decent AI [more mob style than anything] and has some great weapons. Our test run is the entire first mission. Settings are shown below.
In Bad Company 2 we find the GTX580 nipping at the heels of the Dual-GPU HD5970 with a gap of about 4FPS. Despite the ‘loss’ this is actually a very impressive showing; especially considering the gap between the GTX580 and the GTX480 here [24 FPS].FarCry2 [DX10]
FarCry 2 is the third of the sequels we used for testing. It is a large sandbox game that does not truly have levels like most first person shooters. For testing I played from after you wake up until you free the hostage. Settings are shown below.
FarCry2 is a game that is way too close to call. The GTX580 comes in only 2FPS faster than the GTX480. That margin is well within normal variances in testing. Plus, let’s face it at the speeds they are all running it would be hard to tell even the top three apart.Bioshock 2 [DX10]
Another sequel shows up in our testing, this one pits you in an undersea utopia gone horribly wrong. The engine is based off of the Unreal engine and offers us some DX10 surfaces to help increase the rendering load. For testing I ran the level from the beginning of the game until you find Dr Tenenbaum. Settings are shown below.
Now this is interesting. Bioshock2 shows the GTX580 WAY out in front. The gap is over 20FPS minimum and even though you would be hard pressed to see it, it does represent a very significant performance lead.Metro 2033 [DX11]
Metro 2033 is another in the post-apocalyptic genre. This one takes place in the year 2033 20 years after a terrible event took place that almost wiped out mankind. The survivors took refuge in metro stations in Moscow. Now you must venture out to prevent the death of the few remaining people left. T The game itself plays a lot like Stalker; it is slow and filled with mutated horrors [*note 4A games, was founded by developers that worked on the X-Ray Engine used in STALKER.]. For our testing we played for 30 minutes starting with your exit from the station. Settings are shown below.
As we have mentioned in the past Metro 2033 is hard on the GPU. However, the GTX580 managed to get us very close to our 32FPS minimum mark. Much closer than any other single GPU we have tested. The game was noticeably smoother especially during the combat sequences.Just Cause 2 [DX9]
This one is plain cheesy, but is a decent one for third person action. It is also a DX9 console port. The game put you as a CIA operative looking to regain some lost data cards and destroying everything in your path. The graphics are ok, but the AI and general story are terrible.
For Just Cause 2 the performance shown by the GTX580 was less than we hoped for. The GTX580 was even with the overclocked Stalker edition GPU but behind on the average FPS. It was also not much faster than the GTX480.Gaming Conclusions
The GTX580 showed us some good performance increases over its predecessor the GTX480. In some cases the difference was almost 100%. However in most it was 35-30%. Still in a couple of games we saw almost no difference in performance. This was even taking the three runs we do into consideration. All of that aside the GTX580’s gaming performance is like most other GPUs, there are going to be games it does very well in and those that it does not. I imagine that with time nVidia will tweak the drivers and squeeze out some additional FPS to make up for those games that are not where they should be.
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