Image Quality Comparison
Before we get stuck into the performance testing, lets just take a moment to look at and compare the three main quality presets.
The above images were taken from the level that we benchmarked with. Called Call me Ishmael, this is primarily a jungle level. As you can see, there is excellent lighting and a great deal of detail in the enthusiast screen shot. The mountains and trees way off in the distance look impressive, while the water and beaches look extremely real.
Dropping the quality settings down to the gamer setting removes a lot of the realistic looking lighting and shader effects. A lot of detail goes missing as well, such as the trees on the far mountain, and the textures on the mountains themselves are not nearly as nice. The water also loses a lot of its realism, and shadows are a lot less noticeable.
The mainstream quality settings basically turn Crysis Warhead into Far Cry, as the graphics now look very old and outdated. Although the water still looks okay, a huge amount of detail has been lost. Almost all the trees in the distance are missing, there is no haze over the mountains, and the sky has lost its natural color. The mainstream quality settings are very ugly and do this game no justice!
When looking above in Crysis Warhead there are still some pretty amazing sights to be seen, and this is one of them. Using the enthusiast settings made for some pretty amazing effects. The clouds, lightning, and the alien ship all looked very real, making the game more exciting to play.
Reducing the quality settings to the gamer preset killed the atmosphere for me. While the clouds and lightning still looked quite good, it was nothing compared to what I had seen before. The mainstream graphics were again shocking in a bad sense.
The ice levels were extremely demanding, but they also looked really good as you can see from the above enthusiast screen shot.
The level of detail is amazing here and in-game it just looks unbelievable. Reducing the quality settings to gamer killed the lighting and softened the shadows. Some of the shadows in the distance are gone, along with a lot of detail. The mainstream quality setting is again very ordinary, removing even more detail and almost all light sources.