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DiRT Showdown

We've added the latest entry in the DiRT series to our test suite at the suggestion of AMD, who has been working with Codemasters for years on optimizations for Eyefinity and DirectX 11. Although Showdown is based on the same game engine as its predecessors, it adds an advanced lighting path that uses DirectCompute to allow fully dynamic lighting. In addition, the game has an optional global illumination feature that approximates the diffusion of light off of surfaces in the scene. We enabled the new lighting path, but global illumination is a little too intensive for at least some of these cards.

This is a fantastic game, by the way. My pulse was pounding at the end of each 90-second test run.

Uh oh. The latency plots for all of the GeForces are squiggly messes. None of them fare well with this game's advanced lighting path.

You can see the GeForce cards' struggles illustrated above. In addition the stark turn upward in latency for the last five percent of frames, they deliver higher frame times generally, from the 50th percentile on up.

Despite these issues, the newer GeForces offer a decent and quite playable experience in this test scenario. Even the older ones don't spend much time beyond our 50-ms cutoff. Do you . . . sense a theme developing here?