Gaming with Intel HD Graphics 3000 - Far Cry 2
|FarCry 2||Like the
original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released
on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft,
FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible
terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting,
and motion-captured animations. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this
article with a fully patched version of FarCry 2, using one of the built-in demo
runs recorded in the "Ranch" map. The test results shown here were run at
various resolutions in DX10 and DX9 mode with no anti-aliasing enabled.
Interestingly enough, the long and short of it is, at least with FarCry 2, Intel's new fully integrated HD Graphics 3000 core has the chops to keep pace with a solid low-end discrete mobile graphics solution, and even offers a bit more performance in the DX9 version of this game engine, likely due to driver optimization with NVIDIA's solution being more focused on the DX10 path. Playable frame rates are to be had with FarCry 2 at 720p resolutions with high image quality settings and no AA turned on. AA (Anti-Aliasing) turned out to be a frame rate killer for Intel here due to the fact that the chip needs to go out to system memory for larger capacity frame buffer access. Regardless, if we dialed back eye candy a bit further to more moderate levels, frame rates in excess of 30fps are very realistic. And look at the performance gain over Intel's previous generation IGP; over three times faster at 720p resolution is simply impressive no matter how you slice it.
Remember as well, this is a very early look at what Sandy Bridge mobile can do. Hopefully, with time, we could even see more performance optimization made at the driver level by Intel. And hopefully they're listening intently (or perhaps reading here rather). Intel's graphics driver team has never been known for earth-shattering execution in driver drops that provide new features and optimizations. Here's to a solid New Year's resolution, perhaps?