Batman: Arkham Origins Benchmark Milos Milosevic October 25, 2013 Benchmarks Previous Batman predecessors Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City had chronological order, this title however does not take place after Arkham City, but 5 years before the 2009 title Arkham Asylum, where batman is a greenhorn superhero with an attitude. Since developers nowadays are not familiar with chronology you will often find your self in weird situations where offspring are predecessors to their ancestors. Big hype has been surrounding this game, Warner Bros has employed top-dog voice actors for this game, Roger Craig Smith as Batman (also known as the actor who gave voice to Ezio Auditore from the Assassins Creed franchise) and Troy Baker as the Joker, a rising star who has made a name for him self voice acting in many games, such as Bioshock Infinite and The Last Of Us. If Warner Bros delivered what they marketed is another question and it may be addressed in some of our future articles. But enough about the game, this is a benchmark . Since 2009 Nvidia has always worked close with the developers of Batman, whether it was RockSteady Studios or WB Montreal, Nvidia was always there (and now here) to support this game with the green company’s features such as PhysX (features Batman series had since the beginning) and TXAA. Since this is one of those “The way it’s meant to be played” titles, someone would expect that the game will run better on Nvidia cards, lets find out how right that someone would be. Systems Requirements by Warner Bros Testing Systems Intel SystemAMD SystemCPUi7 4770k 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) - i5 4670k 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)FX 8350 @ 4GHz (4.2GHZ Turbo) - FX 6300 @ 3,5 GHz (4GHz Turbo) - FX 4300 @ 3.5 Ghz (4.1GHz Turbo)MOTHERBOARDAsus Gryphon Z87Asus Sabertooth 990FX Rev. 2.0RAMRam: 2x 8GB@ 2133 Mhz Kingston HyperX Beast : KHX21C11T3K2/16X2x 8GB@ 2133 Mhz Kingston HyperX Beast : KHX21C11T3K2/16XSSDIntels 520 Series 240 GBIntels 520 Series 240 GBGPUGigabyte GTX770 4GB - ForceWare 331.58Sapphire Dual-X 7970 (OC-ed to 1050Mhz for GPU and 1500 MHz Ram) - AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta v1 Gigabyte GTX770 4GB (1137 MHz and 1753 Mhz for Ram) - ForceWare 331.40MONITORShimian QH270-IPSMS 2560x1440p 27"Shimian QH270-IPSMS 2560x1440p 27"PSUThermaltake ToughPower XT 775WThermaltake ToughPower XT 775WOSWindows 7, 64-bit Ultimate SP1Windows 7, 64-bit Ultimate SP1 2560 x 1440, MSAA x8 Of course as soon as we installed the game we bumped up the graphics to maximum settings, however as soon as we started playing (we started with the AMD 7970 GHZ Edition) we noticed insanely low fps. This game does look good and we can say that its pretty demanding, however nothing in this game looked that good that it would justify such bad frame rates. When we switched to the GTX 770 everything changed as you can see. The GTX 770 gives 3x more frames than the 7970 on maximum settings at a 2560 x 1440p resolution. We tried with various ATI Catalyst drivers but nothing really worked as we are guessing its either video card drivers or someone just sabotaged AMD cards. Just 16 fps in average really says it all… GPU usage was 99% all of the time while testing however the game apparently wasn’t using GPU resources properly. On the other hand when it comes to CPU usage the game uses only 4 cores/threads and basically any quad core that you have will probably do a great job for this game (as long as you have an Nvidia card that is). The game as we said is using only 4 cores or threads but utilization of those cores was somewhere around the 50-60% mark most of the time. When we started comparing data gathered while testing CPU usage of various CPU’s with both of these cards there were actually some very interesting things we discovered. Apparently the game just isn’t optimized to use AMD GPU’s properly. If you switch from a GTX 770 to the AMD 7970 GHz Edition, CPU usage with AMD cards will double. 2560 x 1440, FXAA High 2560 x 1440, FXAA High, Gtx770 2560 x 1440, FXAA High, AMD 7970 At the 2560 x 1440 resolution the difference between CPU’s in terms of performance was almost minimal. As you can see the difference between CPU’s is with in a margin of error. This is not that surprising since the game doesn’t have alot of AI that is wandering around the map (like the Assassin Creed series for example) which requires a great deal of CPU power. But as we have already said any modern quad core CPU will do the job just fine. However, if the CPUs are giving more or less the same performance that is certainly not the case with the GPU’s. The GTX 770 performs better at around 15% in average than the AMD 7970 GHz Edition. When you look at the bright side, trailing by 15% isn’t that big of a deal when you compare it to 3oo%. 1920 x 1080, FXAA High, 1920 x 1080, FXAA High, GTX 770 1920 x 1080, FXAA High, AMD 7970 With the 1920 x 1080p resolution things started to get interesting since lowering the resolution brought more frames per second, more frames per second means bigger workload for your CPU in terms of processing those frames. Add to that equation and the weird game optimization where GPU load (in the 7970’s case) is being transferred to the CPU and you can get a pretty good idea in terms of what performance issues you will face. With the GTX 770 minor differences can be seen but nothing too conclusive, since all of these are with in a margin of error. However if you turn you attention to the AMD 7970 GHz Edition benchmark you will see a sudden difference in performance. Intel’s CPU are performing around 15% better than AMD’s but again AMD users won’t have any complaints considering how much less a FX CPU’s cost than an Intel. As with the 2560 x 1440 resolution the GTX 770 prevails over the 7970 GHz Edition again. In some cases, such as with the FX 6300 that difference goes up to 30%, which is not something to be taken lightly. Someone will need to release the fix for this as soon as possible, but the only question is: Who? System Memory and Video Memory usage System memory usage (FXAA High) Video Memory usage (FXAA High) As you can see from the graphs 3GB of system memory (RAM) is more than enough to play Batman: Arkham Origins .Warner Bros was right when recommending specs for the PC platform. When it comes to Video memory usage 1 GB of Vram ought to be enough, but just to be sure if you are wanting to buy a new GPU you should go for a 2GB version ,not only for this game but to be future proof as well since the games will become much more demanding when the next generation of consoles get released. We should note that GPU usage while testing at MSAA x8 at 2560 x a 1440 was around 1900 MB. Performance Improvement with Catalyst 13.11 Beta v6 Amd Drivers As you already know AMD has released their new 13.11 v6 drivers (just a few hours after we finished benchmarking) that improve performance in Batman Arkham Origins. Since there was no point in ignoring this we had to sit and redo the AMD GPU part all over again. AMD claims improvements of 35% with MSAA filters as you might remember how badly our 7970 performed in the earlier benchmark. 2560×1440 MSAAX8 PhysX OFF Old Drivers We didnt expect all that much, since 35% more of 16 fps really isn’t a big deal, but for the sake of objectivity (and because we are crazy) we decided to run the benchmark again. And we were in for a treat. 2560×1440 MSAAX8 PhysX OFF As you can see the results are staggering, AMD has not improved performance by 35% but by a whopping 350%, guess they made a typo. AMD’s 7970 leaves the GTX 770 behind leading by 10% overall in all resolutions. Since AMD was doing so well with the new drivers, and we were testing it with PhysX OFF we wanted to explore what the penalties would be in using PhysX (Normal) with AMD VS Nvidia on the FX 8350 and i7 4770k. 2560×1440 MSAAX8 PhysX Normal As you can see no penalties what so ever, a slight decrease not even worth mentioning . We must note that with the new drivers, CPU usage with the 7970 has decreased and was in the same range as the GTX 770. CPU usage on both is around 20-25%. 1920×1080 MSAAX8 PhysX OFF Again AMD’s 7970 does better than the GTX 770. The difference is around 10% but not so obvious as it was in the 2560 x 1440 resolution. Then we run tests with PhysX in Normal mode. 1920×1080 MSAAX8 PhysX Normal Now this is one of the strangest things we witnessed during benchmarking, all of the cards have a hit on performance with PhysX in Normal Mode. We tested 5 times with each set of combinations but the results were always the same. As you can see loss on fps with PhysX is around 20%. How did this not happen with the 2560 x 1440 resolution we have no idea. One of the things that crossed our mind was that PhysX doesn’t really work on both cards in 2560 x 1440.This is most probably due to PhysX for the AMD card running off the CPU. There is a possibility that the 1920 x 1080 resolution isn’t properly optimized yet, but this is all a speculation. Now we turned our attention to FXAA filters, AMD hasn’t said anything about improvements in this sector, however we decided to give it a go. 2560×1440 FXAA, 7970 New Driver 2560×1440 FXAA, 7970, Old driver 2560×1440 FXAA, GTX 770 If you compare with the initial benchmarks you will see that improvement are next to nothing and all within a margin of error. The GTX 770 performs better (10% average). We didn’t expect any miracles but we also tested in 1920 x 1080 at the same settings. 1920×1080 FXAA High. 7970 1920×1080 FXAA High, 7970 Old drivers 1920×1080 FXAA High, GTX 770 The results are actually a bit better and the gain is around 5-10% overall, however its still behind the GTX 770 but the margin has been decreased by 10-15 % overall. It is nice from AMD for fixing this promptly, but I believe that users would like an even faster reaction. AMD has always stated that a reason for them for being late on driver updates is because they don’t get the games in time from certain developers. Since this is a “The way its meant to be played” title we wouldn’t be surprised if that was true. What ever the truth is, AMD has done a good job with improving performance with MSAA filters and deserves credit for it. Of course we would like to see some improvement with FXAA filters as well, but no biggy if that doesn’t happen. In the future, AMD, please release your drivers before we do benchmarks. PLEASE! Conclusion Warner Bros has delivered a beautiful a game and if we weren’t having those optimizations issues (we are still not 100% sure who is to blame for this) and it is expected that there will be fixed in the near future. When it comes to performance the GTX770 has outdone AMD’s 7970 in this duel, prior to driver updates. Again by this it is obvious that Nvidia has been preparing for this game for awhile and honestly failure wasn’t an option in this case. When it comes to CPUs, Intel’s i7 and i5 are at the top but their strength comes out at the open with the 7970, compared to other CPU’s, but if you have any AMD CPU from our benchmark you shouldn’t feel disappointment because those CPU’s have justified their value and even more. AMD is still strong at that middle and low segment in terms of price/performance ratio and its good to see AMD keeping pace. If you have any questions about the benchmark please ask in the comment section below and I will be glad to answer.