Created with CryEngine2, the original Crysis raised the bar in 2007 for PC gaming graphics with stunningly detailed graphics that crippled even the fastest rigs. Looking back on our first Crysis performance article based on the demo of the game, the fastest GPU available at the time (the GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB) at 1920×1200 with high quality settings under DirectX 10 had problems averaging 30 fps.

Given the punishment of the first game, we were excited to see CrySngine 3-based Crysis 2 from 2011, but it quickly became clear that the second episode wouldn't be a rerun. Not to say it didn't look any better, but compared to Crytek's first title, the sequel didn't set new standards. It was just another computer game that DX9 made extensive use of, although DX11 was eventually patched.

Two years fast forward and Crytek gave us another opportunity to hammer hardware with the arrival of Crysis 3 this month. Like the second title, the third part was created with CryEngine 3. That doesn't mean you have to expect lousy PC functionality though, as the engine has been updated with improved dynamic cloth and vegetation, better lighting and shadows, and a lot more.

In addition, PC gamers don't have to wait for graphical extras. Crysis 3 launched with high resolution textures, DX11 support, and tons of customization options that set it apart from the builds with thinned consoles. The result looks amazing and we have a feeling this will be the game that people who have invested heavily in multi-GPU setups have been waiting for. We hope that we will not be sadly disappointed.

Test methodology

We're going to be testing 18 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia, which is significantly fewer than the 29 we tested for Far Cry 3, as almost no low-end graphics cards can be played even with the medium-quality preset enabled Crysis 3, even at 1680 x 1050.

The latest drivers are used, and each card is paired with an Intel Core i7-3960X to remove CPU bottlenecks that could affect high-end GPU results.

We use Fraps to measure frame rates during 90 seconds of gameplay footage from Crysis 3's first level, Post Human. The test starts as soon as Michael "Psycho" Sykes gives you his spare weapon. We then just follow the party leader until the time runs out.

We'll be testing Crysis 3 at three popular desktop display resolutions: 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200, and 2560 x 1600 in DX11 mode. For the test with very high quality, we set the "overall quality" in the "video quality" menu to "very high" and the SMAA value to 1 (low). The high and medium quality tests are also performed with SMAAx1 enabled.

  • Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition (3072 MB)
  • Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 (3072 MB)
  • Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 Boost (3072 MB)
  • Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 (3072 MB)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2048 MB)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7850 (2048 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 7770 (1024 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 6970 (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 (4096 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 (2048 MB)
  • Gainward GeForce GTX 660 Ti (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 (1536 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti (1024 MB)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 (1536 MB)
  • Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition (3.30 GHz)
  • x4 4 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 (CAS 8-8-8-20)
  • Gigabyte G1 Assassin2 (Intel X79)
  • OCZ ZX series 1250w
  • Crucial m4 512 GB (SATA 6 Gbit / s)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
  • Nvidia Forceware 314.07
  • AMD Catalyst 13.2 (Beta 6)