PC gamers can expect a crisper, more detailed world in Dragon Age: Inquisition, though precisely how crisp and detailed will depend on your setup. As usual we've put some hardware to the test, including the latest AMD and Nvidia GPUs, in total 25 DirectX 11 GPU graphics card configurations from both companies covering all prices.
Graphics have always been a selling point of the Far Cry series as few games offer the same open world environments that can be experienced in Far Cry. The latest iteration is no exception. Being an Nvidia "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, FC4 has loads of optimizations for GeForce cards, including HBAO+, PCSS, TXAA, Godrays, and HairWorks. If nothing else, this should make it all the more interesting to compare results.
Classified as a survival horror/stealth game instead of an action shooter, Alien: Isolation differs from last year's Alien: Colonial Marines in that there is just one Alien who can't be killed, requiring you to employ stealth tactics. The game has plenty of pants-wetting moments and sounds like a blast if you're comfortable with soiling yourself, but we're more interested in Alien: Isolation's performance when running at max quality and varying resolutions.
Already one of the most iconic and atmospheric first-person shooters around, Metro has received some post-release polish that should present a greater challenge for today's GPUs. Metro Redux features improved versions of both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, including completely remastered visuals.
Released in early June, SanDisk's Extreme Pro is the successor to the venerable Extreme II, which was among the best SSDs of its generation in terms of performance and reliability. The drive is aimed at gamers, enthusiasts and professionals who demand the highest real-world performance, and will trade blows with Samsung's excellent SSD 850 Pro.
The biggest news for Mantle since being announced as a method of improving performance in games by allowing them to use your CPU and GPU more efficiently, has been support from DICE's Frostbite 3 engine (and by extension, Battlefield 4). Recently that support expanded to Eidos' Thief, while Crytek revealed at GDC 2014 that CryEngine will support it too. AMD says its latest update is of "tremendous benefit to a large cross-section of the gaming public" so we are keen to check it out.
World of Warcraft is considered a massive success, yet it's dwarfed by World of Tanks' 1 million concurrent players and 75 million total users. You can also find more than half a million people playing Dota 2 on any given day and League of Legends has over 7.5 million players online during peak hours.
While you may not need a Radeon R9 290X or a GeForce GTX 780 Ti to get the most out of these games, we're curious to see how hard those titles can push today's hardware.
Despite being built with the aging Unreal Engine 3, Thief touts some cutting edge rendering techniques that have put the game on our radar. Thief's built-in benchmark appears to do a good job of demonstrating a worst-case performance scenario, so if your system can average 60fps in the benchmark you should enjoy perfectly smooth gameplay from start to finish.
Currently Kaveri APUs can be paired with one of two discrete GPUs: the Radeon R7 240 and R7 250. Both are sub-$100 cards that we wouldn't typically recommend gamers invest in, but when combined with the A10-7850K's on-die GPU, we could see performance that has bigger implications for value-oriented builders.
AMD really is focused on gaming performance with Kaveri and believes this is where its latest APUs have a serious advantage over the competition. The company's latest processors are being pushed as budget solutions for modern 1080p gaming, though on paper the Radeon R7 doesn't look quite up to the task...
AMD surprised everyone last month by delivering Titan-like performance for nearly half the price with the R9 290X. However before Nvidia can strike back, it'll have to eat another blow in the form of the new Radeon R9 290. At $400, the R9 290 offers fantastic value when you consider it still packs much of what made the R9 290X a GeForce killer.
With roots that stretch back more than a decade and enough fans to justify new content every year, Battlefield is among the handful of franchises that needs no introduction around here. Even if you hate EA's approach modern military madness, you can typically expect Battlefield's graphics to raise the bar. This year's release is no different, of course, having been built with an updated version of the Frostbite engine.
Built with Real Virtuality 4, ARMA 3 builds on its predecessors' superb graphics and realism, DirectX 10 and 11 support, improved physics across the board, underwater environments, volumetric clouds, better lighting and a 20km view distance with photo-realistic terrain.
ARMA 3 will offer the largest official terrain of its franchise, with ground area covering approximately 270 km² across the Aegean islands of Altis and 20 km² on the Greek island Stratis. Between its expansive world and graphical advancements, it's no surprise that the developer's recommended specifications are set relatively high.