Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC Performance Analysis Part 1

By on May 15, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of the most anticipated first person RPG’s and we had the chance to put a PC preview code to the test. Although we can’t share any images or videos, we can discuss about its performance, its requirements and… well, pretty much everything else. This is the first part of our performance analysis with this game and as you may have guessed, the second part will be posted when the final version comes out.

As always, we used an overclocked Q9650 (4.2Ghz) with a GTX295 and 4GB of DDR2. We also used Nvidia’s latest drivers (ForceWare 270.61) and Windows 7 64bit. The preview code offered some graphical options, although we expected way more. For example, there isn’t any option for AO. Instead, there is a universal option for all shadows. From the configuration menu, we could choose the refresh rate, resolution and some advanced settings. There is also an option to enable DX11 . Sadly though, Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn’t support DX10 under the DX11 path. Or at least the preview code doesn’t. The advanced settings can let you choose or tweak the display aspect ratio, the anti-aliasing method (there is only one available and that is the ‘Edge AA’ mode) and the shadow quality (higher settings can only be enabled under DX11 path). Furthermore, you can enable or disable the post-processing effects, Stereoscopic 3D, Triple Buffering and Tessellation.

We already know that Deus Ex: Human Revolution uses a heavily modified Crystal Engine by Crystal Dynamics and according to the developers, the game was build with multicores in mind. And they were telling the truth. As we can see, the game scales well to a quadcore system. One core is maxed out and the other three are used at around 40-60%. We tried to simulate a dualcore system by disabling two of our cores and we witnessed a 15fps hit. This basically means that the game will benefit from a quadcore.

Our GPU on the other hand wasn’t stressed at all. Nvidia has already an SLI profile for this game and we had 65-120fps at 1080p with maxed out settings under DX9. There were few locations where we saw full GPU usage but most of the time, our GPU usage was averaging around 60-80% (which means that we were CPU limited, even though the game was running with 60+ fps). We also run the GTX295 in Single GPU mode to find out whether Human Revolution is GPU or CPU bound. Thankfully, those of you with older cards will be able to enjoy it, as we lost only 4-5fps. This clearly shows that Human Revolution is CPU bound and will run fine under DX9, even with a single GTX275. We should also note that we would get better image quality in SLI mode -without suffering any performance hit at all-, if there wasn’t any limitation to the shadow quality setting. So let’s just hope that the developers will remove it in the final build.

As you may have heard, the PC version is handled by Nixxes Software and not EIDOS Montreal. So, should PC gamers worry? The answer is simple. They shouldn’t. We are really impressed with the PC preview build and what Nixxes Software has managed to accomplish. Deus Ex: Human Revolution plays like a PC game, it performs great, has proper keyboard indicators, there isn’t any kind of mouse acceleration and has some unique features like the new, minimal GUI and an inventory system that is similar to the one of the first Deus Ex. Kudos to Nixxes Software and we should congratulate EIDOS Montreal for their decision. It really paid off.

Graphics wise, the game looks good. It’s not a Crysis killer but it does have that cyberpunk atmosphere of Deus Ex. There are some low-res textures here and there and you will also notice some jaggies as the game doesn’t support MSAA. We were disappointed with the lighting system, as there aren’t many dynamic light sources. Most of them are static and don’t cast shadows. Thank God the developers used ambient occlusion otherwise the environments would look ‘pale’ and ‘flat’. We were also disappointed with characters’ animations and lip-sync. They were average at best. Although the game supports soft particles, the in-game debris was minimal. And to make things worse, a destroyed object will simply disappear without any debris or any broken pieces surrounding the area. Nothing at all. Let’s just hope that this will be fixed in the final build. To put it simple, the graphics of Human Revolution are nothing to write home about. Like with the first Deus Ex, Human Revolution’s graphics are definitely not its strongest feature.

All in all, Deus Ex: Human Revolution performed great and we didn’t encounter any slowdown at all. The game takes advantage of multicores and SLI/Crossfire systems. Although the graphics aren’t mind-blowing, they are so atmospheric and have the ‘Deus Ex cyberpunk feel’ that most of us had fallen in love with. Nixxes Software did an amazing job and as our tests have shown, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a CPU bound game.

The game will be released this August on PC, X360 and PS3!

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.
  • Preetam Nath

     WTF using a DX10 GPU in the DX11 era, seriously duds, change your rig.

  • SplatMan_DK

    From TFA: “Nvidia has already an SLI profile for this game”.
    Ahemmm … no they don’t? It is not mentioned anywhere, there is no updated SLI profile, and the latest driver pack does not make the game appear in the “Supported games” list in the nVidia Control Panel. So no, they don’t provide an SLI profile for this game. Not by a long shot.