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Far Cry 2 Hardware Performance Review

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FiXT

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Far Cry 2 Hardware Performance Review



Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: PC, Xbox360, PS3
Genre(s): First Person Shooter, Action, Sandbox
Released: October 22th 2008
Price: $49.99
Links: Far Cry 2 | Official Site | Ubisoft



The long awaited and eagerly anticipated title, Far Cry 2, has finally hit store shelves. The original Far Cry, developed by Crytek – the same developer as Crysis – was a legend of its days and even still is remembered for its contribution to the gaming realm both in terms of graphics and gameplay. The sequel to the original and the focus of our review, Far Cry 2, does not follow the same story, or even the same gameplay as the original. To be truthful, it is questionable as to why it was decided to be published under the same name as the first, given that it about as far from a sequel as one could imagine. Also, for this title, Ubisoft decided to go with its in house developers, handing the task to Ubisoft Montreal. Not to insinuate that this is necessarily bad; Ubisoft Montreal has released widly popular titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Price of Persia and the Tom Clancy series. As a result, Far Cry 2 was literally re designed from the ground up.

Instead of building off the original CryEngine (which Crytek adapted into CryEngine2, featured in Crysis and sequel Warhead), the backbone consists of a unique Ubisoft concoction, Dunia. While it is unique soley to Far Cry 2, those who have played previous Ubisoft titles, such as Assasin’s Creed, will be able to draw correlations between their work. That said, Dunia brings some incredibly exciting new features to the table. Without going into great detail here are some of the key components:
  • Destructible Environments
  • Dynamic Weather
  • Dynamic fire propagation (influenced by weather system)
  • Dynamic vegetation (RealTree), including growth and regrowth of vegetation
  • Full day/night cycles
  • Dynamic music system
  • Support for large player maps, without specific levels
  • Non-scripted AI
  • Radiosity, or non-direct lighting
With all that “randomness” shoved into a game, any experienced hardware enthusiast or gamer could forsee some rather hefty system requirements. Coupled with the “almost real” visual quality that many screenshots purpot, hardware performance becomes a serious concern. However, the developers have insisted that the game would not be a resource hog, and perform exceptionally on low end and mid range systems, without having to sacrifice much of the visual quality, or the special features of the engine. Well, lets see what its got.


Far Cry 2 Tech Demo
Click here to view other game demo's detailing the Dunia Engine
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Setup and Quality Comparison

Setup

Ubisoft had the incredible foresight to include a tremendous benchmarking tool in their game. In fact, it is arguably one of the best of any game benchmarks to date. Aside from a few missing features it allows for full queuing of multiple runs and outputs the numbers in an easy to use and store HTML page… with graphs! (Even so, this review is still a little behind schedule ;) )

While they do include a few different time demos and real playbacks with the tool, we opted to create our own demo which followed the character through a maze of homes, clearing everything in his path and making sure to destroy and burn most everything that could be. After dozens of retakes – we had yet to discover a god mode – the sequence came together in what was felt, accurately reflected the frames that can expected when playing the game.

During our testing, a patch was released that included a benchmark catering to CPU benchmarks. The action packed real play demo stresses the processors quite heavily by utilization of many of the Dunia engine’s CPU intensive features. As such we opted to adjust our testing for the CPU and Memory portion of the review to show greater scalability between the hardware.

* Note - As you will see in the review, most of our images and charts have been coupled together in order to save scrolling and space. Please be sure to check at the bottom of images and charts to hit the appropriate links to change images *

Hardware:

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.00GHz 1333FSB
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 1333FSB
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 2.53GHz 1066FSB
Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 2.5GHz 800FSB
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ 3.2GHz
AMD Phenom X3 8750 2.4GHz
AMD Phenom X4 9850 2.5GHz

Video Card:
ATI Radeon HD4870X2 2GB
ATI Radeon HD4870 512MB
ATI Radeon HD4850 512MB
ATI Radeon HD4830 512MB
ATI Radeon HD4650 512MB

nVidia GeForce GTX280 1GB
nVidia GeForce GTX 260 896MB
nVidia GeForce 9800GX2 1GB
nVidia GeForce 8800GTX 768MB
nVidia GeForce 9800GTX 512MB
nVidia GeForce 8800GT 512MB
nVidia GeForce 8600GTS 512MB

Other:
Asus Maximus Formula X38 LGA775 Motherboard
EVGA Nforce 790I Ultra LGA775 Motherboard
Asus M3A78-T 790GX AM2+ Motherboard
OCZ Reaper 2x2GB DDR2 1066 PC2-8500 Ram
Corsair XMS3 2X2GB DDR3-1333
Corsair TX750 750W Power Supply
Western Digital SE16 320GB Hard Drive
Samsung 224T 24inch 1920X1200 Monitor

OS, Drivers and Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate x64 w/ SP1
nVidia GeForce Forceware 180.43
ATI Catalyst 8.10 w/ ATI Hotfix
Far Cry 2 v1.0.1


Quality Settings


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<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2.php?id=6"></script>
 
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Image Quality Comparison

Image Quality Comparison


Far Cry 2 offers some incredibly appetizing scenery, incorporating many unique visual options to tantalize the eyes.

As you will notice in the quality comparison and subsequent benchmarks, the developers have allowed for gamers to enjoy the gorgeous views with only minimal quality loss. While the higher display options do offer slightly more in terms of quality, much of the beauty is still maintained at the modest "High" setting - which is obtainable by most mediocre systems.


Field of View

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2.php?id=1"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots


Waterfall

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2.php?id=3"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots


Sunset

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2.php?id=4"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots
 
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Image Quality Comparison Continued

Image Quality Comparison Continued


Shadows
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2.php?id=2"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots


HDR & Bloom
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=7"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots


DirectX 9 & 10
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=8"></script>
Click tabs to switch between screenshots
 
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System Requirements

System Requirements

As mentioned, Far Cry 2 was developed with the focus that it could and would be played on a variety of hardware. Unlike other titles which shut out a large percentage of casual gamers with mediocre systems, Ubisoft Montreal spared no expense to ensure compatibility and functionality. "It has always been our intention to make Far Cry 2 as accessible to everyone as possible, and we have worked continuously to optimize Far Cry 2 to achieve this goal" (Dominic Guay, Lead Technical Director).

The minimum and recommended requirements fit that description perfectly. There have been few titles released in the past few months which have suggested such mediocre hardware, however Ubisoft is recommending components which could be found in a simple office or workstation PC. This, coupled with what the game offers in terms of visual quality, AI and effects, and the sheer amount of it all makes it almost to be good be true. Our benchmark pairs the recommended hardware to test, realistically, what can be achieved.


Minimum requirements

CPU:
Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz, Pentium D 2.66 Ghz
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ or better
Video card:
NVIDIA 6800 or ATIX1650 or better
Shader Model 3 required
256 Mb of graphic memory
Memory:
1 GB
Media reader:
DVD-ROM
Hard drive space:
~12 Gig or HD space. (tbd)


Recommended

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo Family
AMD64 X2 5200+, AMD Phenom or better
Video card:
NVIDIA 8600 GTS or better
ATIX1900 or better
512 Mb of graphic memory
Memory:
2 GB
Sound:
5.1 sound card recommended
Media reader:
DVD-ROM


AMD64 X2 5200+, nVidia 8600GTS, 2GB DDR2, Vista 64
minreqcharts.jpg
 
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Video Card Benchmarks (Ultra High)

Video Card Benchmarks (Ultra High)


Our first video card benchmarks dive into the highest of the quality settings available in the game. Running at the popular 1920X1200 resolution used by most 24'+ LCD's we crank the quality settings to the max and let it fly. Most of the video cards found in today's market sail through without a hitch, averaging frames above often quoted "30FPS" fail line. Note the differences on many of the cards, with DirectX10 actually IMPROVING performance over DirectX9! This is one of the few, if not the only game, which DirectX10 offers an improvement in frames rates. Astonishing!

Click tabs at bottom below chart to switch between DX9 & DX10 benchmarks​
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=9"></script>
 
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Video Card Benchmarks (Very High)

Video Card Benchmarks (Very High)


Ubisoft has three different levels of "High" settings, with Very High being the Medium of the three. The results are much the same as Ultra High, with small changes to the leader board, and still evidence of the FPS improvement in DirectX10. With the game becoming far less GPU dependent, there gets to be very little difference between $1000 in video processing power and only $300 worth. As shown in the image quality settings, the minute differences between Ultra High and Very High, the later quality allows gamers with cards on the lower end of the spectrum to experience great visuals and great framerates.

Click tabs at bottom below chart to switch between DX9 & DX10 benchmarks​
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=10"></script>
 
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Video Card Benchmarks (High)

Video Card Benchmarks (High)

The "High" benchmarks are the last in our testing as anything below could potentially be run on a 486 (You think we're joking?). The higher end cards were pushing past 100FPS so the charts only list the more conservative cards of in the arsenal. Here we finally see DX9 outperforming DX10, however this is due in part to the fact that the DX9 settings place a few of the quality options at Medium, while DX10 defaults to all High. Finally the 8600GTS narrowly squeaks by the 30FPS line - thus making it our recommend cutoff if you wish to play Far Cry 2 - anything lower and you will be forced to sacrifice quality and visual settings that really limit the gameplay experience.

Click tabs at bottom below chart to switch between DX9 & DX10 benchmarks​
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=11"></script>
 
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CPU & Memory Benchmarks

CPU & Memory Benchmarks

The CPU Benchmarks reveal a lot about our previous video card results. Remember the astounding DirectX10 results, here is where those numbers stem from. Processor power appears to be the driving force behind performance in Far Cry 2. While still very much a graphical game; all the unscripted AI, dynamic and reactive processing and special effects that were listed really have enormous requirements. AMD Phenoms, quad and tri core CPU's, are finally proving their worth as they outperform the far faster Athlon dual cores, and Intel's Q9650 also provides evidence that Far Cry 2 is well optimized to take advantage multi-core processors.

Click tabs at bottom below chart to switch between DX9 & DX10 benchmarks​
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=12"></script>


The ram usage tells the familiar tale of the benefits of using DirectX10, resulted in decreased ram overhead. Overall users should be able to get away with 2GB, problem free; however, if you have a high number of background programs or tend to be a multi-tasker 4GB of ram is highly advised. It also nets a slight frame rate improvement as an added benefit.

Rambenchmark.jpg


Ramusage.jpg
 
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Driver Updates and You

Driver Updates and You


Well as luck would have it, on day that this review was intended to be released, nVidia makes public, a new driver that was heralded for its Far Cry 2 performance boosts over the beta. It is not often we hear of such major improvements from a WHQL driver and a beta which is only a month younger, but forums around the net have been abuzz with the news.

While it would be completely unfeasible to retest all of the video cards, we did decide to investigate further and pulled out the trusty GTX 280 to test the new WHQL 180.48's. In the past week AMD/ATI also released a driver, 8.11, which didn't receive quite the reception of nVidia's, but we didn't want to leave them out of the party, so the HD4870 was resurrected to do the job.

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/fixt/Games/FC2/imageloader2-2.php?id=13"></script>

The latest from nVidia does a very impressive job, improving performance over 10% in most cases; however, ATI's Catalyst 8.11 appear to just be the 8.10's with the hotfix embedded. As a result it is highly recommended for gamers with nVidia based products targeted in the new driver to upgrade to the 180.48 series in order to improve performance in Far Cry 2.
 
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