Borderlands 2 GPU & CPU Performance Test

By Jos · 57 replies
Sep 20, 2012
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  1. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Thanks for another comprehensive review Steve.
    You must have been up burning the midnight oil to get a review out as quickly as this.
    KbloodyK likes this.
  2. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,676   +991

    Steve won't reveal his secrets, not even to the rest of us :)
    KbloodyK and DanUK like this.
  3. lawfer

    lawfer TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,270   +91

    As expected, another quality review.

    Reading this review confirms my first assumption; this game is CPU dependent, so most people can play it fine I guess. Having not played a properly modified Unreal Engine since Arkham Asylum (Arkham City was fine), I noticed one thing I truly hate about it: Unreal Engine 3's signature texture reformatting. Whenever you access another area or get into a cut-scence, most times texture initially appears blurry but then gradually adjusts to the native resolution. Hated it then, hate it still.

    It's a fun game though.
  4. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Great review... scary CPU dependency for this one! Running pretty light in the CPU department myself.
  5. likedamaster

    likedamaster TS Enthusiast Posts: 88   +13

    Great performance test. I knew I frequent this site for a reason.

    With that said, I think I need to upgrade my cpu.
    KbloodyK likes this.
  6. Hello.

    What additional card was used for Hybrid PhysX on HD7970?
    Оr with Hybrid Physx mod HD7970 can compute PhysX on it's own?
  7. BallBuster

    BallBuster TS Rookie

    Maybe if you read the PhysX Perfomance text, instead of only looking at the charts, you would find an aswer. But only maybe.
  8. Thing is the Hybrid Physx website clearly states you need an nVidia card in addition to the Radeon to get Physx to work. There is no mention of this in the article. I'm interested to know how they achieved the Physx to process directly on the 7970.
  9. BallBuster

    And you can, definitely, tell me which additional card was used?

    The fifth page mentions only three cards - GTX 680, HD7970 and GTX 560.
  10. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 222   +143

    My "old" i5 2500 is still a beast, it seems, so no worries there. And the GTX 460 still does the job nicely, so I'm set. :)
  11. BallBuster

    BallBuster TS Rookie

    Ok, my fault then. If that's the case, I'm also interested to know how they have done it.
  12. You dont need a Nvidia card, for AMD cards the CPU handles it. Most have enabled PhysX without the mod, they just edit the engine.ini file.
  13. Nice testing, but why no Core i3?
  14. DanUK

    DanUK TS Booster Posts: 211   +9

    Nice review. That CPU scaling is insane! The sort of thing you'd expect to see in a strategy game with 100's of units on the screen.. wouldnt have expected it from an FPS though. Glad to see my old i7 920 still chugging along though :)
  15. Ultraman1966

    Ultraman1966 TS Enthusiast Posts: 94   +10

    As the others have said, just what Nvidia card was paired with the 7970 to achieve that Physx on performance?
  16. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,039

    You don’t need a Nvidia graphics card to use PhysX in Borderlands 2.

    First open the Borderlands 2 folder -> WillowGame -> Config folders.
    (Path should be something like: "C:\Users\\Documents\My Games\Borderlands 2\WillowGame\Config")
    Then find and open the WillowEngine.ini file.
    Then find the line that reads "PhysXLevel="
    (It probably says PhysXLevel=0)

    And finally set the PhysX level to either 1 or 2 if you want to enable it on AMD cards, PhysXLevel=1 is Medium and PhysXLevel=2 is High.

    As far as I can tell the Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 look the same with PhysX set to high but I have not played a huge amount of the game and I have only use a few guns. However the cloth effects and rock debris effects from shooting stuff with the Gearbox Rifle look the same.

    It would be great if other Radeon users could try this and report their findings.

    Yeah thanks, I didn't get much sleep ;)
  17. GenL PhysX physX does not work for borderlands 0% GPU load if the reviewer even checked?

    Hydribiz is the name of the new patch as stated on
    Uses modified files from GenL Mod and some .dlls manipulation, should work with latest GPU and PSS drivers.
  18. tabish

    tabish TS Rookie

    Please add some i3 performances
  19. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 820   +345

    I suppose hoping to find out how a GTX 295 performs was a bit too much to hope for
  20. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TS Booster Posts: 363   +86

    I have an i5 2500k @ 4.8ghz and an Evga 680 SC at stock settings. I play this game on the highest settings (physX at high as well) and I am seeing framerates in the high 70s when I turn off Vsync. I don't think PhysX is taking as huge of a hit as this article states. However, great review Steve. I was having a debate just an hour prior to you posting this as to whether or not Borderlands 2 is harder to run than Borderlands 1. :D
  21. Just a small note on the PhysX tests, the AMD cards using the High PhysX setting is way too optimistic. Obviously PhysX must be performed on the CPU with AMD cards, and it appears that the reviewer did not use a proper benchmark location. Shooting bullets on the ground or fighting Bullymongs is not good testing for PhysX.

    A good test section for PhysX is the BoomBewm boss fight. There is a massive difference in the number of rigid bodies and physics calculations here compared to regular gameplay. Even with an i7 2600k watercooled to 5.0Ghz, the framerate gets crushed into mid 20fps with a HD7970. A GTX680 on the other hand will maintain that 60fps.
  22. Hello Steve,

    I saw your article over at Anandtech and had questions about your Hybrid PhysX Results. As someone who's been working on getting improved results with this setup, the fact that you didn't use a second GPU to offload makes me wonder if you properly tested PhysX for your review.

    Here are three screen shots of me testing with PhysX Hybrid
    System: Intel i5 2500k @ 4.4ghz/GPU1: Radeon HD 7970 @ 1125/1525/GPU2: GeForce 9800 GTX+
    Settings: Max/No FXAA/PhysX High
    Pic 1: Notice the blood (a PhysX effect) and my FPS with zero GPU2 load (GenL Mod doesn't work, this was me testing with his)
    Pic 2: Same as above, except the blood cleared, FPS doubled:
    Pic 3: This is using a different Hybrid PhysX Mod (found at and this time you see GPU2 has load, and my FPS has increased with blood on the screen:

    I've since switched my aging 9800 GTX+ to a GTX 460 and only now am I getting 60+ FPS with PhysX effects. I don't see how you got your results WITHOUT a second GPU for offloading. Did you test blood on your end?

    Thanks for your time.
  23. No i3 again?! or maybe G series intel 2 core CPU's
    i3 is matching with FX x4 and phenom x4 with price :(

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