It's hard to believe nearly seven years have passed since Relic Entertainment and THQ released Company of Heroes, a World War II-themed real-time strategy title that impressed the heck out of me and many other RTS buffs at the time. Like the original, Company of Heroes 2 is set in World War II but focuses on the Eastern Front.
The game takes advantage of DirectX 11 but also supports DirectX 9, and Relic's proprietary Essence 3.0 engine has a mess load of new features. Our test comprises nearly 30 different graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, covering all price ranges, paired with an Intel Core i7-3960X to try and remove any CPU bottlenecks.
When the Metro 2033 was released in 2010 it contributed to raise the PC graphics bar making good use of the latest DirectX 11 rendering technologies. Metro: Last Light follows its predecessor roots by using a heavily customized and improved version of the 4A Engine.
Furthermore, the developer has continued to cater to loyal PC gamers who have considerably more power than console gamers at its disposal by including a richer gaming experience visually as well as a benchmark tool for measuring your system's performance.
Three years having passed since BioShock 2 and the dawn of a new console generation on the horizon, BioShock Infinite has taken the opportunity to mix things up. Along with DX11 effects, folks playing on PC can look forward to higher resolution textures and a healthy range of customization over settings like anti-aliasing, texture detail and filtering, dynamic shadows, post-processing, and so on.
Our Bioshock Infinite test comprises 24 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia covering a wide range of prices, from the affordable to the ultra-expensive.
Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming.
A city with few sims will see graphics cards such as the GeForce Titan or GTX 680 render massive frame rates because they are not being capped by the CPU (yet). As with most simulation and strategy games, SimCity is CPU dependent and overclocking should result in a healthy boost if needed. More inside.
Although this year's Tomb Raider reboot made our latest list of most anticipated PC games, I must admit that it was one of the games I was least looking forward to from a performance perspective because of previous titles' poor showing.
However, we were relieved to learn that Tomb Raider supports DirectX 11, which brings access to advanced rendering technologies such as depth of field, hd ambient occlusion, hardware tessellation, and super-sample anti-aliasing. Additionally, compared to the diluted console versions, the PC build offers better textures as well as AMD's TressFX real-time hair physics system.
Crytek has given us another opportunity to hammer some hardware with the arrival of Crysis 3. Built with CryEngine 3, the engine has been updated with improved dynamic cloth and vegetation, better lighting and shadows, and plenty more.
Plus, PC gamers won't have to wait for graphical extras. Crysis 3 launched with high-resolution textures, DX11 support and plenty of customization options that set it apart from the diluted consoles builds. The result looks incredible and we get the feeling this will prove to be the game that folks who are heavily invested in multi-GPU setups have been waiting for. Here's hoping we aren't woefully disappointed.
The third installment in the Dead Space series was released this month, and considering the game made our list of 2013's most anticipated PC games we thought we would check it out to see how it looked and performed.
Dead Space 3 might be a direct console port but it’s done right, at least as far as I can tell after a few hours of gameplay. The game might not have DirectX 11 features or a high resolution texture pack, but I personally found it to be quite enjoyable.
Originally expected to arrive by the end of last year after being announced in November, Futuremark has finally released its latest version of 3DMark, which brings three new benchmarks including one for various mobile platforms, another for mediocre everyday computers, and...
Like the original game, Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island, this time found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In typical TechSpot fashion, we'll be testing Far Cry 3's open world environment using 29 DirectX 11 graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges.
This new game is built using an advanced version of the Dunia engine called Dunia 2, which is said to feature new water rendering technology, a realistic weather system, advanced AI technology, a new animation system, realistic facial expressions, motion capture technology and global illumination -- many of which are made possible by the game's adoption of DirectX 11 and can only be experienced on the PC version.
Six years later and it seems the developer is ready to revive the infamous Agent 47 in Hitman's fifth game, which crept onto shelves last Tuesday, November 20 -- or the 47th week of the year. Among its other advancements, Hitman: Absolution is the first game to be developed using the new Glacier 2 engine.
The updated engine was specifically built for Hitman, with a strong emphasis on enabling very dense crowds and allowing players to not only interact with characters but also to influence their behavior. The engine is said to be able to handle up to crowds of 1200 characters, which makes Absolution unlike any other game.
For Call of Duty fans, developer Treyarch just delivered an early Christmas present when they released Black Ops II this week. As the ninth game in the Call of Duty franchise and the sequel to the 2010 game Black Ops, we are hoping to see something meaningfully new from Black Ops II.
But as usual, our main concern from a performance article perspective has to do with the game engine which has been slow to evolve over the years. The key changes to the game engine include a new technology called "reveal mapping" and HDR lighting. On paper the upgrade also calls for the move to the DirectX 11 API for the PC version of the game. This means PC gamers should enjoy better visuals when compared to those using console versions.
The major issue with SSD adoption over the past few years has been price, the astronomically high price when you are counting in hundreds of gigabytes. In today's comparison review we are going to look at 8 popular SSDs that cost $100 or less and feature capacities of up to 128GB.
The contenders include the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, Samsung 840 120GB and Crucial m4 128GB. The most affordable high-capacity SSD featured in our roundup is the Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB, while the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB, Crucial m4 64GB and Samsung 830 64GB should all offer stellar performance for under $80.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter calls for no less than a 3GHz quad-core processor paired with a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950. Given those upper-end requirements, we expect the title to be fairly demanding with its visuals maxed out, and we'll be putting a ton of past and present-gen cards through their paces.
We'll be testing 29 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges with their respective latest beta drivers that claim to improve performance.
AMD has continued refining its Fusion offerings since launching the first APUs early last year. Just four months ago the company launched Trinity for mobile platforms -- arguably where its APUs provide the most value.
Now AMD is finally prepared to offer a desktop version, which brings a new socket and a new high-end chipset. Given that Piledriver improved Bulldozer's power consumption, we expect Trinity to be more efficient than Llano, while Cayman's VLIW4 architecture should boost the GPU's speed -- or so we hope.
Borderlands 2 succeeds at building on the foundation laid three years ago, delivering an improved menu system, revamped skill trees, new characters, more weapons, smarter foes, and the same addictive loot-driven co-op first-person shooter action. As exciting as all of that may be, we're more interested in seeing how the game runs on the finest PC hardware from Intel, AMD and Nvidia.
Built on a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3, the game only uses DirectX 9, opting to exclude the engine's DirectX 11 support. It's worth mentioning that Borderlands 2 is a "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, supporting many Nvidia features such as PhysX and 3D Vision Surround. Let's get down to business...
Back when Vista first arrived I remember comparing how it performed to XP and being extremely disappointed with the results. Vista was generally rough around the edges and that included drivers, so gaming and productivity applications were more often than not slower in the new OS. Microsoft's PR machine has been hard at work over the past few months, trying to explain the numerous improvements Windows 8 has received on the backend. The good news is that it shows.
For comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8 we will measure and test the performance of various aspects of the operating system including: boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.
Apple’s coveted Retina display has finally found its way to a full-size notebook courtesy of the latest MacBook Pro. In addition, there’s an entirely reworked chassis that’s nearly as thin as the MacBook Air and weighs more than a pound less than the standard Pro. Customers can also configure a Retina system with up to 16GB of RAM and 768GB of flash storage, versus a maximum of 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid state storage on a standard Pro.
But hey, who are we kidding, the only reason that most people are going to dish over the extra cash for Apple’s latest and greatest is the 2880 x 1800 resolution goodness of the Retina display. And I’ll go ahead and let you in a little secret: it’s a thing of beauty.