Dragon Age II GPU & CPU Performance Test

By on March 16, 2011, 4:01 AM
Fans of the original game are no doubt excited about the recent release of Dragon Age II. A spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate series, Dragon Age: Origins was the first game of its franchise. Unlike many others, BioWare was wildly successful in bringing this role-playing game to realization as a true multi-platform endeavor, spanning releases on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac, and of course, the PC.

Given our ability to fit out PCs with vastly superior hardware, it pays off when playing Dragon Age II. Right off the bat BioWare released a free high-resolution texture pack download designed exclusively for the PC version. Just as important, the game exclusively supports DirectX 11 on the PC providing cutting edge rendering features such as tessellation, additional dynamic lighting, depth of field and ambient occlusion (SSAO). When compared to DX9 we can confirm that Dragon Age II looks considerably better using the more advanced renderer.


With this in mind, we'll solely focus on DirectX 11 performance using over a dozen graphics cards capable of rendering Dragon Age II on all its visual glory. As usual we'll also be looking at CPU performance to see what kind of processor gamers are going to require to take full advantage of Dragon Age II.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 32

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Guest said:

Very nice game, although it's demanding on GPU power. However I would like see how it runs on my 3-year old 9800GTX, Damn that's one old beauty isn't she :D

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

The 9800GTX will likely run the game just fine but will be limited to DX9. In this particular game it makes more of a difference visually than many other so-called DX11 games. That doesn't mean you won't be able to enjoy it anyway.

nazartp said:

Interesting. I have GTX 460, runs fine at 1920x1080, but I was quite surprised how crazy the fan on the card was spinning. Apparently that level of the load is nVidia specific... Well, will wait for an update.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Well I think proves once and for all that the HD 5850 is the greatest card of our time

Nice review as always Steve.

Guest said:

A broken crappy game proves that the 5850 is the greatest card of our time? How did you reach such a conclusion?

Guest said:

Has anyone with an AMD card tried enabling Morphological Anti-aliasing (MLAA) through Catalyst Control Center? Using same settings as in this review, I got similar baseline FPS on High, but enabling MLAA I immediately took a 20 fps hit on performance. I just purchased a AMD 6950, so I haven't tried any other games besides Dragon Age yet to see if the effect is the same. Though I thought MLAA was a post-processing filter that doesn't demand much overhead? Is it more CPU-dependent? Mine is aging a bit (Phenom II X4 920 @ 2.8 GHz).

Cueto_99 said:

My pair of 4830's handles it just fine (@50fps 1680x1050 - high) sometimes they get some lag, but that might be because each one has 512 gddr3... And of course i haven't install the high res pack! Anyways, DA2 is not a system changer for me... Waiting for Battlefield 3

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

I'm very disappointed with the poor Nvidia performance. Ruins my day.

tacobfm said:

This is why you need multi gpu solutions.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

The nVidia thing will be fixed - I'm sure. No way they would let it stay like this. Now to see what the 590 has in store for us.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Street price for a Radeon HD 6970 is about $340.

While the street price for a Radeon HD 6950 is $240.

For the lack of 4 FPS, but still quite playable at the savings of $100, I think I'd pick the Radeon HD 6950.

edison5do said:

Guest said:

Has anyone with an AMD card tried enabling Morphological Anti-aliasing (MLAA) through Catalyst Control Center? Using same settings as in this review, I got similar baseline FPS on High, but enabling MLAA I immediately took a 20 fps hit on performance. I just purchased a AMD 6950, so I haven't tried any other games besides Dragon Age yet to see if the effect is the same. Though I thought MLAA was a post-processing filter that doesn't demand much overhead? Is it more CPU-dependent? Mine is aging a bit (Phenom II X4 920 @ 2.8 GHz).

Try to get down the AA mode and then in game put the AA in 2x and the AF in 8x, It will give you more performance with the same Image Quality, and will get more frames that the same config here. ( Put in-game setting on high but dow the AA and AF) and tha's it. My HD 5770 get some Frames with that with an Athlon X3 @ 3.6.

Guest said:

Too bad you didn't wait till today- new drivers for 550ti (which can be installed on every other nv card by modifying disp.ini) 267.59, seem to really boost performance.

Guest said:

Shame the ATI HD 5970 with 2GB wasn't reviewed. :\

Guest said:

I got SLI working in the demo version by using a simple trick I read on a forum...

What I did is just do the old rename trick... changed the name to metro2033.exe (it has to be a DX11 game to get DX11 they said).

And voila, my fps went from low 20's to constant 60 fps (vsync) on my 460 GTX SLI rig...

TRY IT!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

A broken crappy game proves that the 5850 is the greatest card of our time? How did you reach such a conclusion?

I will be more careful to clearly label sarcasm in subsequent post's guest....oh yes, what I just said was was sarcasm.

Guest said:

Funny seeing people bend over backwards making apologies for Nvidia's performance.

This is an AMD game and you won't see huge performance improvements from Nvidia unless they start cheating by dropping frames (which is what those drivers that "improve" performance actually do. The game stutters like crazy with them) because the hardware can't handle High Def Ambient Occlusion. Whoever said the new drivers improve performance read this: http://pcformat.techradar.com/blog-entry/amd-vs-nvidia-drago
-age-2-14-03-11

Someone already tested them and he ended up swapping in a HD5850 over the GTX570 he was using.

This is most likely AMD finally being forced to counter Nvidia's TWIMTBP program which was nothing more than a payola to developers and publishers to optimize the game for their hardware, and it will only get worse from here on out. Have you ever seen game patches for Nvidia sponsored games to improve AMD performance? Didn't think so.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Guest said:

Too bad you didn't wait till today- new drivers for 550ti (which can be installed on every other nv card by modifying disp.ini) 267.59, seem to really boost performance.

We always planned to update the results if Nviida came through with the goods so please sit back and relax while I look into it.

boybrushdred boybrushdred said:

i hope mass effect 3 will not be as demanding as da2

Guest said:

What a silly thing to say ... I hope its more demanding. After all those with slower GPUs can just scale back the quality settings as they would with DA2. It just means those with powerful rigs get to enjoy it more.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Wow - for once I agree with a guest ^^ - maybe not enjoy it more, but probably appreciate it more.

Guest said:

DA2 isn't demanding as much as it's not all that optimized. I get terrible framerates in some places for no reason during cutscenes (the elven alienage is a good example) despite having two 5850's in crossfire mode. Everything else is silky smooth even in the most crowded fights. Mass Effect 2 had similar issues, but not nearly as bad as this.

It's a fun game and while I'm not going to rage because it's different than DA:O, DA2 really shouldn't be thought of as a game that pushes the graphical envelope.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

While I personally don't have DA2 as I'm still happy with Origins, I'm curious to know how good the eye-candy is with those rather demanding looking benchmarks. Many gameplay reviews were rather critical of the 'rush job' feel to different aspects of DA2, which likely translates to them not spending enough time optimizing this game as well. So for those who own it, does it warrant a performance hit for the eye-candy trade-off?

Guest said:

I thought it might be useful for people to know that this game is very playable on the following mobile hardware;

1600 x 900, high settings, no AA, High Res textures disabled, DX 11

Win7 64-Bit

i7 720QM (Quad-core + HT, 1.6GHz)

8Gb DDR3

AMD Radeon Mobility 5650 1Gb

500 Gb, 16Mb Cache SATA II 7200 RPM HDD

I'd say that this game looks fantastic & is very playable on limited hardware, sure, it takes a bit of a beast to run everything maxxed but it scales down impressively.

mikeusru said:

Guest said:

Too bad you didn't wait till today- new drivers for 550ti (which can be installed on every other nv card by modifying disp.ini) 267.59, seem to really boost performance.

I have a GTX260 and can't seem to install the new driver set - where do i find this file, and how do I modify it? links?

Thanks!

Guest said:

Why are the games coming out feel the need to skip dx10 and 10.1 even though the majority of cards out there support these technologies? These dx11 cards aren't even that great at dx11 anyway. You either get the old dx9 or the new dx11, so they basically skip 5 years of directx tech. Last time I checked my HD4870 runs anything I can throw at it and stomps the 5770 so why should I upgrade again?

Guest said:

For all those Ati users experince fps problem in DA2!!!!

i was messing around with my in game settings, as well as ati ccc settings!!!

and i managed to play the game flawlessly at very high settings 8xaa + dx11+ blur+ssao!!!!

download the latest ati 11.4 preview drivers...simply make sure you dont have the f#$%$% morphological filtering ticked!!! i listened to ati's lies about no performance hit when enabling morphological AA....and i got for it!!!! i have everythng in ati ccc maxed out 32xaa+64xtesselation

+vsync+ anisotropic 16x!!! i never fell under 60 fps in game!!!

and imagine i dont even i have hd 6xxxx i use 2x 5870 1gddr5 in crossfirex mode!!!!

enjoy!!!!

Guest said:

Please refresh the test with new drivers forceware 270.51

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Please refresh the test with new drivers forceware 270.51

As far as I can tell those drivers had no impact on performance. I have re-tested all cards using this driver as we will be adding DA2 to our graphics card testing lineup soon.

Guest said:

I would like this guide to be updated with Nvidia's latest GPU GTX 590.

I don't know which should I choose, Nvidia's or AMD's latest Processor.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I would like this guide to be updated with Nvidia's latest GPU GTX 590.

I don't know which should I choose, Nvidia's or AMD's latest Processor.

[link]

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

>link<

Might end up with a "new" model to review next month:p

GTX595 ? GTX 590 v2.0 ? GTX 590 Ti ?

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