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Editor: Julio Franco

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Roughly this time last year Crytek released the highly anticipated first-person shooter Crysis exclusively for the PC. Since then the game has been used as the prime benchmark for high-end graphics cards, with only a handful of them being able to conquer the title, delivering great frame rates using high quality settings.

Amazingly, even the latest generation AMD and Nvidia graphics cards still struggle in Crysis, and require a great deal of tweaking to get the perfect balance of quality and performance. Result of these insane hardware requirements to play Crysis in all its glory, many gamers have stayed away from this amazing title, which truly is a shame.

That said, we understand just how disheartening it can be to spend big dollars on a new gaming system and have it struggle with a game.

In the meantime, Crytek has been working hard on a successor of the title called “Crysis Warhead”. This new version of the game updates and refines the gameplay through a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes. Psycho is presented with his own challenges on the other side of the island during the same time period of the first game. Crysis Warhead features new fully customizable weapons, vehicles, and enemies, along with new multiplayer content.

Our take on this article will be all about hardware performance considering it is based on an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2. While many gamers were outraged by the lack of optimizations in the original Crysis, we simply felt it was too far ahead of its time.

Crytek claims this optimized version allows for enhanced performance. A headline that caught our attention earlier this year read “Crysis Warhead to run smoothly on a $600 PC?”. Crytek's CEO stated at the time that a PC valued at just over $600 could run the title with high settings enabled at 30 to 35 frames per second.

This got us wondering just how well Crysis Warhead had been optimized and why these “optimizations” had not been applied to the original. Then again, the developer cleverly missed from mentioning at what resolution gamers could expect this kind of performance (when making the 30 fps claim).

And so today we plan to find out exactly how Crysis Warhead performs using a range of previous and current generation graphics cards. Crysis has renamed their quality presets from Very High, High, and Medium, to Enthusiast, Gamer, and Mainstream, while there is also a Minimum setting.

Our testing covers the Enthusiast, Gamer, and Mainstream quality settings at 1440x900, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200 resolutions.