Crysis – The Ultimate Graphics Card Performance Shootout

Crysis Graphics Shootout The game Crysis represents the new top-class of benchmarks when it comes to graphics cards testing – and with good reason, too. It looks amazing and demands both a brawny CPU and a powerhouse graphics card. Tom’s Hardware compares the most important graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia in all quality settings and analyses the differences.

Before we dive right into the cold, hard data, let’s take a moment and look at the game and its options. The Crysis game menu offers four different basic settings, namely Low, Medium, High, and Very High. Of these, only the Geforce 8800 GTX and Ultra are able to handle the Very High setting. Electronic Arts and Nvidia have created a configuration file that selects a preset based on the graphics card the game finds and which should be seen as a pretty realistic recommendation. For the most part, anti aliasing is not an option in this game, as it makes high quality modes at high resolutions all but unplayable. Even a Geforce 8800 Ultra lacks the power to conjure Crysis at playable frame rates on a 24” display in the Very High setting with FSAA.

On the whole, there have been a lot of complaints regarding the performance hunger exhibited by Crysis. Let’s not forget that the situation was very similar when Oblivion was first released, though. At the time, practically none of the graphics cards available had enough power to render the game in its full glory while sustaining smooth gameplay. In other words, this is not a new situation.

For now, the SP demo of Crysis does not support SLI, and only the final version will shoe how well ATI and Nvidia have been able to tune, tweak and optimize their drivers. After all, we already know about the companies’ plans for three-way graphics configurations (and more), and the power of three GPUs and four CPU cores has to be directed somewhere.

All of the test results presented here were compiled with DirectX 10 under Windows Vista. While the game still looks very good in Windows XP, you’ll have to make do without some of the graphics effects. Some resourceful gamers have already begun spreading new configuration files that enable most of the Vista effects under XP as well through forums. However, most users quickly realized that XP’s performance advantage quickly melts away to levels similar to those under Vista.

Our test consists of several parts. Screenshots and videos show the differences between the global quality settings. A detailed performance comparison offers comprehensive information on the individual cards’ performance. The benchmark analysis then allows us to evaluate the interplay between CPU and GPU (graphics) performance. And the data-junkies among you will be happy to know that you can also find the exact minimum, average and maximum values in our tables.