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.
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.