Maingear SHIFT Super Stock X79 System Review

Article Index

Gaming: Far Cry 2, Just Cause 2, L4D2, and Lost Planet 2

FarCry 2
DX10 Gaming Performance

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 and settings.

Even exotic sports cars can be spotted on surface streets from time to time, and by that same token, a $7,500 SHIFT system won't spend all its days chasing benchmark records. When nostalgia takes hold, you might find yourself loading up an older game like Far Cry 2, a title that predates DirectX 11. The SHIFT stood head and shoulders above the other gaming systems we compared it with, and even at a screen resolution of 2560x1600, it pulled nearly 200fps (196.83fps, to be exact), more than any other system at 1920x1200.*

*The Alienware Area 51 was benchmarked at 1920x1080.

Just Cause 2
DX10.1 Gaming Performance

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 was released in March '10, from developers Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive. The game makes use of the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the similarly named original. It is set on the fictional island of Panau in southeast Asia, and you play the role of Rico Rodriquez. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article using one of the built-in demo runs called Desert Sunrise. The test results shown here were run at various resolutions and settings. This game also supports a few CUDA-enabled features, but they were left disabled to keep the playing field level.

Just Cause 2 is another relatively mild benchmark, but what's interesting to notice here is that the SHIFT performed nearly three times better than Digital Storm Enix with two GeForce GTX 580 videocards in SLI.

Left 4 Dead 2
Gaming Performance

Left 4 Dead 2

In our Left 4 Dead 2 test, we use a custom Time Demo that involves plenty of fast action, some explosions, and plenty of people and objects on the screen at the same time.

Left 4 Dead 2 uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, the same one used in the original L4D title and other multiplayer games, and it's so well tuned that you could probably run it on a Leapfrog. We ran the game on the SHIFT using a custom time demo and, well, do the above benchmarks really need any commentary?

Lost Planet 2
DX11 Gaming Performance

Lost Planet 2

A follow-up to Capcom’s Lost Planet : Extreme Condition, Lost Planet 2 is a third person shooter that takes place again on E.D.N. III ten years after the story line of the first title. We ran the game’s DX11 mode which makes heavy use of DX11 Tessellation and Displacement mapping and soft shadows. There are also areas of the game that make use of DX11 DirectCompute for things like wave simulation in areas with water. This is one game engine that looks significantly different in DX11 mode when you compare certain environmental elements and character rendering in its DX9 mode versus DX11. We used the Test B option built into the benchmark tool and with all graphics options set to their High Quality values.

You wouldn't know it from looking at the numbers above, but Lost Planet 2 is a benchmark that, more often than not, puts the beatdown on systems, particularly at higher resolutions. The fact that Maingear's SHIFT system scored over 100fps on a 30-inch display with a 2560x1600 resolution and all the visual quality settings cranked up speaks volumes about the graphics rendering power three AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards provide, particularly when backed by a six-core Sandy Bridge-E processor.

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