Final ThoughtsIt would appear that the performance gains promised with this new patch are limited at best. Whatever we expected has been reduced to very specific scenarios, the gains appear to be limited in both DX9 and DX10 rendering modes, while multi-GPU setups remain a non-sense choice if you want to optimize for performance.
The biggest improvement will be seen by those running AMD Radeon graphics cards, particularly the Radeon HD 2900XT which took the largest boost of all when using high quality settings. While GeForce 8800 GT SLI and Radeon HD 3870 Crossfire configurations saw slight performance improvements for the most part those took place in what we call "unplayable territory" which is below the 30fps mark (at higher resolutions such as 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 using the high quality settings).
Although the Crysis 1.1 patch was released late last week a number of users have already reported their findings during the weekend. Similar to our results, a majority has found little gain from the patch, but there is also a number of users reporting between 5-10 fps gain which is interesting. Somewhat of a pattern we recognized is that those claiming the largest performance gains typically use slower processors. Because we used a Core 2 Extreme QX9650 for testing we cannot confirm this however.
When we originally analyzed Crysis performance we discovered that CPU performance was not as big of a factor if we ran on higher visual quality settings (as opposed to CPU-oriented tests that use low visual settings) as a Core 2 Duo clocked at just 1.60GHz was just 7% (or 2fps) slower than the same processor at 2.66GHz.
At the end of the day, there is no reason why you shouldn't upgrade to the latest version of the game. It does bring an important number of bug fixes and very marginal performance improvements that are unfortunately nothing close to what we expected. It would seem like the guys at Crytek are pretty much stuck at squeezing more performance from current hardware, or so we can conclude after they spent the last 2+ months working on this patch that was announced as a "performance patch."
That said, the next thing that worries us is the immediate future of high-end graphics offerings from both ATI and Nvidia that are reportedly based on multiple GPUs put on a single card (based on the same Crossfire/SLI technology). And from what we have seen in the past 18 months, neither are as effective as they claim with improvements over single cards usually in the range of 0-30% instead of a more healthy and cost effective 50+%, or why not double the performance? Until then, triple and quad GPU setups are mere gimmicks.