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Tuesday | August 21, 2018
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Dirt 2 DX11 Performance – ATI

Dirt 2 DX11 Performance – ATI


Our sister site Gamingheaven reviewed Dirt 2 a short while ago and today we have a look at the performance of the PC version in DX11 mode when paired up with the stunning new range of ATI Series 5 graphics cards. I have been playing the PC version of Dirt 2 for the last week or so and it really is a stunning racing game, with state of the art graphics combined with the same fantastic gameplay we experienced on the console version.

The new series of 5000 series ATI graphics cards are the most sophisicated on the market and Dirt 2 utilizes many aspects of DX11 technology such as Hardware tessellation on water, cloth and crowd surfaces. There is also DirectCompute 11 accelerated high definition ambient occlusion and Full Floating point high dynamic range lighting as well as full screen resolution post processing. Some of these such as HADO and HDR are always enabled but hardware tessellated animated crowds and dynamic water are only turned on with ULTRA settings.

Hardware Tessellated Dynamic Water is only enabled with ULTRA quality settings and with Direct X 11 the hardware tessellator is used to generate hundreds of triangles dependant on how close to the water the camera is. Before in Direct X 9 the game would merely use a height field to apply the correct per pixel lighting to the water surface with an illusion on the surface itself as it is rendered on a plane consisting of just two triangles. In Direct X 11 the domain shader samples the height field texture to displace the tessellated mesh accordingly and the end result gives a much more realistic and physically accurate water surface.

The Hardware Tessellated Animated Crowds only make an appearance once again with settings on ULTRA and the idea of this is to create a more realistic looking environment with people on the edges of the race tracks. These models in the past have been low polygon because the memory to store the models at high resolutions would have been too demanding. In Direct X 11 the game engine uses a technique called Curved PN-Triangles (Or N Patches) to massively increase the resolution and smoothness of the rendered models. Also Codemasters have applied a displacement map to the models to bring out more detail. Once again the end result is to bring a higher level of quality and overall immersion to the gamer.

The Hardware Tessellated Dynamic Cloth is triggered by the HIGH setting in game and while it is not often immediately noticeable in game as you plough around the track if you pay attention you should notice plastic sheeting and various banners and cloth surfaces in the crowd and environmental areas. In Direct X 9 the limitations have been high with these surfaces generally only consisting of a few polygons but in Direct X 11 the game is using Curved PN Triangles in conjunction with the hardware tessellator to enhance the quality and fidelity of these dynamic objects.

For our testing today we will be cranking all the settings to maximum, so if the game offers ultra settings they are enabled, and the rest will be on high. As this article today focuses entirely on Direct X 11 we are only benchmarking the ATI 5 series cards – hopefully in early 2010 nVidia will be in a position to mount a challenge, but right now we see no point in focusing on the DX9 elements of Dirt 2.

The hardware we are using for our testing today is:

Intel 975EE @ 4ghz
Intel DX58SO motherboard
6GB Crucial Ballistix @ 1800mhz
Corsair H50 CPU cooler
Samsung Syncmaster XL30 Monitor
ATI 5970 graphics cards (courtesy of AMD)
ATI 5870 graphics cards (courtesy of AMD)
ATI 5850 graphics cards (courtesy of AMD)
ATI 5770 graphics cards
(courtesy of AMD)

Windows 7 64bit (all updates applied)
Catalyst Dirt 2 Hotfix Beta driver
Valve Steam Platform
Fraps Professional

Good Benchmarking Practice:
Where possible, each benchmark was performed three times and the median result for each resolution/setting is shown in the tables that will follow. All applications had their latest patches applied and all hardware features the latest BIOS/Firmware.

DriverHeaven does not use benchmark scripts. We play the games for long periods of time on various levels and report any unusual findings we see. Then we record with FRAPS across several in game levels recording the averages. This is real world testing and is just how you guys will experience the game. These results give the reader balanced and directly comparable set of figures for comparing cards.

To ensure minimal CPU limiting with the higher end configurations we overclocked the CPU to 4ghz and pushed the memory from 1600mhz to 1800mhz.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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