An Upgraders Guide – from 8800-GTX to GTX 650 Ti BOOST (Pt. 2)
Performance summary charts & graphs
Here are the summary charts of the results of our benchmarking 29 modern PC games and 5 synthetic tests. The highest playable settings are generally chosen and it is DX11 when there is a choice; DX10 is picked above DX9, and the settings are generally maxed unless specified on the chart. Specific settings including AA are listed on the Main Performance chart. The benches are run at 1920×1080 and 1680×1050 as befits the capabilities of the GTX 650 Ti BOOST.
Main Overall Summary chart
All results, except for Vantage, Firestrike and 3DMark11, show average framerates and higher is always better. In-game settings are fully maxed out and they are identically high or ultra across all platforms. The only exceptions are that the GTX 280 and the 8800-GTX are DX10 cards and the DX11 games default to either DX9 (usually) or to DX10. This is noted on the chart.
As usual, we begin by focusing on the synthetic tests.
Futuremark & Heaven synthetic tests
3DMark 2013 Firestrike is Futuremark’s latest DX11-only benchmark, 3D Mark 11 is also DX11 and Vantage is DX10. Unfortunately, scores are completely meaningless when they are presented in this way but they do offer supporting data to accompany our game benches. Here is the chart with Vantage, 3D Mark11, and Firestrike’s basic and extreme tests as well as Unigine’s Heaven and Valley:
Now we look at the graphs of the charts specifically focusing on Unigine and note that our old standby Heaven has been upgraded to verion 4.0 with even more demanding settings and performance needs. Unigine also recently introduced a new synthetic, Valley 1.0. Both 1920×1080 and 1650×1080 are represented on the graph.
Here is the GTX 280 and the 8800-GTX running Heaven and Valley in DX9 since they cannot run on the DX11 pathway. As you can see from the chart above or the graph below, even DX9 is a painful experience for the older DX10 cards now, whereas running these benches on the much more demanding and better looking DX11 pathway is no problem for the GTX 650 Ti BOOST and the GTX 660 which are Nvidia’s current $170 to $200 midrange cards.
Again, synthetic tests are interesting but they are not necessarily indicative of real world gaming performance. Next up, let’s look at DX9 games.
We test the popular Source Engine represented by Left 4 Dead 2 and also a demanding DX9 game, Serious Sam 3, BFE with both at completely maxed out settings. We have also added Borderlands 2 with PhysX, and the Witcher with maxed out settings except for “ubersampling”. We also added the Resident Evil 6 demo.
The newer DX9 games are quite demanding unlike Source Engine whose Left4Dead 2 runs fairly well even on an 8800-GTX. Surprisingly, the GTX 280 does pretty well compared to the GTX 550 Ti and to a much lesser extent than the GTX 460, depending on the game. However, the GTX 660 and the GTX 650 Ti BOOST are in a class by themselves being able to play all of the DX9 games at the most popular resolutions and with the highest settings and even maximum AA in most cases (except SuperSampling).
Let’s check out DX10 games
We test four DX10 games – Just Cause 3, Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5, and Crysis.
Benching these four DX10 games, again the GTX 660 and the GTX 650 Ti BOOST simply stands out from the rest. Only with Resident Evil 5 and Far Cry 2 does the 8800-GTX manage to provide fair framerates, and the GTX 280 is able to keep up except with Crysis. The GTX 460 still manages playable frame rates and to a lesser extent, so does the GTX 550 Ti.
Most of our testing emphasizes DX11 games and we are benching 20. Since the graphs and charts get too long, we break them up into sections of 6 or 7 games each.
First up are charted the older DX11 games.
Now those same games at 1680×1050 expressed in a graph:
In every case, the GTX 280 and the 8800-GTX default to the DX9 or DX10 pathway and usually they produce not only inferior visuals to the DX11 pathway, they also are pretty slow. Except for HAWX 2 and perhaps Lost Planet 2, they are unplayable at the high DX 9 settings that we have chosen.
In all cases, even the lowly GTX 550 Ti provides a better visual experience with better performance and the GTX 650 Ti BOOST and the TX 660 stand out from the rest. If you have a DX10 card, it’s time to upgrade.
And it gets worse for the gamer with a DX10 card as we chack out the newer games.
First of all, Max Payne 3 does not run on 1GB cards at 1920×1080 or at 1650×1050. We managed a workaround to give you numbers at 1650×1080 as a comparison although the 1GB cards were suffering from a lack of vRAM. Total War: Shogun II would not run on the 8800-GTX at the settings we picked and the GTX 280** not only defaults to the DX10 pathway, it drops 2xAA in favor of MLAA.
Now the same DX11 games at 1920×1080:
Now at 1920×1080: If you want to play the newer DX11 games at high settings, you will want a modern DX11 card of at least GTX 650 Ti performance levels. For a few dollars more, the GTX 650 Ti BOOST provides a much more playable experience at even 1920×1080 with few visual compromises.
the Secret World not only defaults to the DX9 pathway with the 8800-GTX and the GTX 280, it drops SSAO as an option. Likewise, Sniper Elite V2 defaults to DX9 and cannot enable Advanced Shadows, while Hitman: Absolution cannot use MSAA nor anything above low-DOF.
Again, the GTX 660 and the GTX 650 Ti BOOST stand out from the rest. The 8800-GTX and the GTX 280 are showing their age while the GTX 550 Ti and the GTX 460 are unable to keep up without lowering settings. The video cards with 1GB of vRAM are beginning to show some disadvantages compared to the 2GB varieties. Let’s head for our conclusion.