Far Cry 3 Video Card Performance and IQ Review @ [H]

Simplex

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I prefer blur-o-vision to "shimmer-o-vision" and "pixelcrawl-o-vision", and "jaggies-o-vision".


I wonder why Ubi in its infinite wisdom decided that users will not be allowed to disable SSAO completely, or to toggle FXAA. The review could mention that it is possible to disable AO, DoF (and supposedly enable FXAA) by tweaking a config file. Is PC gaming so consolized, that tweaking a config a file is no longer a valid option?

Personally I have to disable AA and dial down some graphical settings like PostFX or shadows (impact of which was sadly omitted in this review) in order to play in 1080p. Why? Because whenever my framerate dips below my refresh rate (which I already lowered on purpose to 50Hz) unbearable stuttering begins - that is why I am forced to play on lower settings because if I want to avoid stuttering, I need to have a rock solid 50fps - so effectively my AVERAGE fps need to be at or above 50 to avoid stuttering.

These benchmarks are supposed to reflect a real life gaming scenario and that is what I love [H] reviews for - that they find optimal playable setting for a given card at a given resolution and then test. This methodology has been very relevant and helpful, so far.

But in case of Far Cry 3 it stops being relevant because the stuttering is not present when vsync is disabled - and [H] did all the benchmarks with vsync off. I know this was done so that the FPS numbers are not artificially capped below cards capabilities, but in this case it is not a good reflection of real life conditions, because lack of vsync results in a very distracting screen tearing, so disabling it is not an option for me. Did you internally test with vsync on? Probably, because then the stuttering issue would be mentioned (assuming this issue affect all, not just me).

Can someone with a similar rig as mine can confirm or deny having stuttering issues when framerate dips below refresh rate, when vsync is on? Perhaps it is some kind of glitch on my side and can be fixed? That would be great as it would allow me to play on higher settings, because without stuttering, the dips below 50fps would be much more tolerable.

Also, I think that it is a pity that the 9 graphical options which can be customized to a large extent were ignored in this analysis - especially PostFX which has a large impact on framerate but almost unnoticeable impact on how the game looks (at least without switching between still shots).

Since MSAA has significant visual and performance impact on the game, I think this review would be much more helpful if these 9 options were customized to enable MSAA more often - for example it could have been tested if dialing down PostFX/shadows/geometry, etc would allow to enable 2 or 4x MSSA without noticeably compromising image quality. For example, I noticed that dialing down PostFX, shadows and geometry would improve performance without compromising visual quality.
 

THUMPer

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The game plays fine. Not an issue. The issue is MULTIPLAYER. Matchmaking COD style BS.
 

Simplex

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From what I heard, SweetFX does not work with FC3 in DX11.

http://www.dsogaming.com/news/far-cry-3-comparison-sweetfx-vs-vanilla-versions/ - I assume they did this in DX11

2008: "We can’t stress enough how well this game plays on current generation hardware" - [H] about Far Cry 2
2012: "It gives current video cards a challenge, it pushes these, and provides a need to have the latest and greatest high-end video card, or go multi-GPU." - [H] about Far Cry 3

Personally I prefer a situation from 2008 - i.e. a game that looks fantastic for its time and at the same is properly optimized to work well on conteporary hardware. In my opinion Far Cry 2 was such a game, Far Cry 3 is not. I do not think that this is healthy for PC gaming industry to have games that require >200$ video card in order to be comfortably playable, and SLI/CFX in order to be playable with MSAA - I mean, let's have such games, but they should look at least as good as Crysis looked to us in 2007 - at least the hardware requirements will be justified then.
 
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Solomutt

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From what I heard, SweetFX does not work with FC3 in DX11.

http://www.dsogaming.com/news/far-cry-3-comparison-sweetfx-vs-vanilla-versions/ - I assume they did this in DX11

2008: "We can’t stress enough how well this game plays on current generation hardware" - [H] about Far Cry 2
2012: "It gives current video cards a challenge, it pushes these, and provides a need to have the latest and greatest high-end video card, or go multi-GPU." - [H] about Far Cry 3

Personally I prefer a situation from 2008 - i.e. a game that looks fantastic for its time and at the same is properly optimized to work well on conteporary hardware. In my opinion Far Cry 2 was such a game, Far Cry 3 is not. I do not think that this is healthy for PC gaming industry to have games that require >200$ video card in order to be comfortably playable, and SLI/CFX in order to be playable with MSAA - I mean, let's have such games, but they should look at least as good as Crysis looked to us in 2007 - at least the hardware requirements will be justified then.




^^^ THIS ^^^
 

Ehren8879

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Far Cry 3 is still a very good looking game even when you turn down video settings to get 60fps on a <$200 card.
 
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From what I heard, SweetFX does not work with FC3 in DX11.

http://www.dsogaming.com/news/far-cry-3-comparison-sweetfx-vs-vanilla-versions/ - I assume they did this in DX11

2008: "We can’t stress enough how well this game plays on current generation hardware" - [H] about Far Cry 2
2012: "It gives current video cards a challenge, it pushes these, and provides a need to have the latest and greatest high-end video card, or go multi-GPU." - [H] about Far Cry 3

Personally I prefer a situation from 2008 - i.e. a game that looks fantastic for its time and at the same is properly optimized to work well on conteporary hardware. In my opinion Far Cry 2 was such a game, Far Cry 3 is not. I do not think that this is healthy for PC gaming industry to have games that require >200$ video card in order to be comfortably playable, and SLI/CFX in order to be playable with MSAA - I mean, let's have such games, but they should look at least as good as Crysis looked to us in 2007 - at least the hardware requirements will be justified then.

Meh--I didn't enjoy FC2 much at all. It compared very poorly both graphically and gameplay wise with FC1. Details, object models, effects etc. of course were better, but the lush vibrant colors were gone, replaced by a dusty brown look that I found very dull and boring visually. I had to keep fighting the urge to wipe the non-existent dust off my monitor.

Then the gameplay was drained of all fun by a hyper-emphasis on open world. Sure, FC1 was your basic plot-on-rails shooter. But at least the fact that you were progressing linearly meant that your actions in each chapter of the story had persistent effects. I just hate respawning enemies, especially with the aggressive respawning "timers" in FC2. In FC1 you could actually clear each chapter if you so desired, except in one or two places. And that added to the fun of experimenting with different approaches to attacking an enemy base. In FC2's world of super spawn, every mission completion or exploration plan has to be structured around how to avoid as many checkpoints and enemy towns as possible. You can't even run and gun, because your high-speed zoom across the landscape will collect piled-on hostile AI until you die from overkill. It may be "realistic," but it isn't fun.

For a supposed open world, the game also forces a lot of repetitive busy work on you that I got sick and tired of. How many times must I drive between Mike's Bar and Pala to pick up missions, buy/repair/restock items, and take a bus ride (the only concession to avoiding spawning-checkpoint hell, but with so few bus stations to choose from that it barely helps)? Either put the bar and the weapon shop in the town, or at least a short walk outside, for pity's sake.

And if you are a completist and want to finish as many missions as possible, or just want to unlock the good items and have enough ready cash to pay for them, you can't get through the game without committing multiple atrocities. I guess FC2 wanted to teach me some kind of "lesson" about the moral compromises of deadly force in the undeveloped world, but it was depressing.

All that to say, I couldn't wait to finish FC2 and I never want to play it again. I lost count of how many times I replayed FC1. At least it sounds like FC3 is a return to the original, both in graphical look and feel and gameplay fun.
 

BigMack70

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Here's a possible solution to 7970 stuttering that worked for me...

Enable in-game vsync (1 frame) + GPU Max Buffered Frames = 1 + Enable the framerate limiter function of MSI Afterburner (limit the framerate to your monitors refresh rate).

That removed almost all stuttering for me (playing at 4xMSAA with all else maxed), which I was very thankful for. Without using the framerate limiting function of AB, I couldn't find a solution beyond the 2 fram Vsync buffering which is an unacceptable compromise.
 

mkygod

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I found the perfect blend of quality/performance for an i7-2600k w/ 670gtx @1920x1080 4xMSAA 8xAF w/ the latest drivers used in the review.

Ultra preset was not acceptable for me, as having a game that hovering between 25-60fps is not my idea of playable. The issue wasn't just the lag of the frame rate, but also the lag of the mouse, as slowdown causes mouse sensitivity to decrease. You can use GPU frame buffer to compensate, but it will add to mouse input latency.

Here's my settings:
Turn off Alpha (gains 3fps)
Switching Shadows from Very High to High (gains a massive 8-10fps!)
Using SSAO
Turned off GPU buffer
Vsync off.
All other settings set on the highest available for Custom.
Nvidia frame rate limit of 50 (using RIva Tuner that came with MSI Afterburner)

Near constant 50fps, sometimes dipping to 40. If there it was a graph, it would be pretty flat. Great consistant framerates with very low perceivable slowdown. It's better to get a consistantt 40-50fps than 40-70fps, imo. In most games, i tend to cap at 60fps when possible (my display is only 60hz). However with Farcry3, this is as close as I can get to that while still having the eyecandy on.
 

phorkz

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Well im running 2 x Asus 680 Top editions, slightly OC'd, and while running the "playable" settings mentioned in the review i do recieve almost always above 50fps, anything below 60 doesnt play smoothly(even like 59/58), and ive read a fair few others in the same situation, though the review sais its buttery smooth. Ive tried the exact settings mentioned as "playable" in the review, also tried with vsync on, adaptive vsync, frame limit caps etc, nothing seems to work, only way i can play with it buttery smooth is with 2XMSAA and vsync enabled(everything ultra). This is at 2560x1440, 16gb 2133mhz ram and 3770K @ 4.5GHZ.

It has me stumped how the review states the highest and average fps for 680 sli is below 60, and they are saying its buttery smooth, am i missing something here?
 

BigMack70

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Well im running 2 x Asus 680 Top editions, slightly OC'd, and while running the "playable" settings mentioned in the review i do recieve almost always above 50fps, anything below 60 doesnt play smoothly(even like 59/58), and ive read a fair few others in the same situation, though the review sais its buttery smooth. Ive tried the exact settings mentioned as "playable" in the review, also tried with vsync on, adaptive vsync, frame limit caps etc, nothing seems to work, only way i can play with it buttery smooth is with 2XMSAA and vsync enabled(everything ultra). This is at 2560x1440, 16gb 2133mhz ram and 3770K @ 4.5GHZ.

It has me stumped how the review states the highest and average fps for 680 sli is below 60, and they are saying its buttery smooth, am i missing something here?

Was reading over on the guru3d forums that the MSI Afterburner frame limiting function may help stuttering on the 6xx series cards as well, when combined with vsync and max buffered frames = 1

Dunno if it works for all configs, though
 

phorkz

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Was reading over on the guru3d forums that the MSI Afterburner frame limiting function may help stuttering on the 6xx series cards as well, when combined with vsync and max buffered frames = 1

Dunno if it works for all configs, though

Have tried the afterburner frame limiter, though maybe not with vsync at the same time, i will have to give that a go tonight.I mean im pretty happy how it looks at 2xMSAA, though im just annoyed as at 4x my frames are still good, but it stutters.
 
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DejaWiz

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Awesome review, [H]. Thank you.

I've been anxiously waiting for this game to release so I could read reviews and get opinions from release day buyers as to how the IQ and gameplay is. Looks like the time to upgrade my GPU can't get here soon enough...and until then, I might as well hold off from buying FC3. *sigh*
 

Forceman

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Can someone with a similar rig as mine can confirm or deny having stuttering issues when framerate dips below refresh rate, when vsync is on? Perhaps it is some kind of glitch on my side and can be fixed? That would be great as it would allow me to play on higher settings, because without stuttering, the dips below 50fps would be much more tolerable.


I had the same problem until I disabled in-game Vsync and forced Adaptive Vsync from the Nvidia Control Panel. Much better that way.
 

AT-AT28

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To bad the game still doesn't look as good as Crysis 1considering the amount of GPU horsepower it needs to run decently. And Ubi STILL has not fixed that horrid stretched texture wall of death bug and HBAO looks horrid cause EVERYTHING has a freaking shadow behind it. Seriously, what the hell was Ubi thinking?
 

phorkz

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I had the same problem until I disabled in-game Vsync and forced Adaptive Vsync from the Nvidia Control Panel. Much better that way.

For me at least, that doesnt solve the problem, when using adaptive vsync, i get weird drops to 45fps where it will stay locked for 10 or so secs then back to 60, not sure what causes that. Doesnt seem to be in particular areas of the game or anything either.
 

AT-AT28

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For me at least, that doesnt solve the problem, when using adaptive vsync, i get weird drops to 45fps where it will stay locked for 10 or so secs then back to 60, not sure what causes that. Doesnt seem to be in particular areas of the game or anything either.

No issues here, but I also have the tweak forcing the PostFXAA to false setting instead of low helps FPS. The blurred mess on distance objects was pissing me off

http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1806130
 

AT-AT28

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It has me stumped how the review states the highest and average fps for 680 sli is below 60, and they are saying its buttery smooth, am i missing something here?

Funny thing is "buttery smooth" has a different meaning to every single person.
 

AT-AT28

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Wow! So you have to have a GTX670 or better to play this on max settings at 1920x1080! That is awesome! Means there are some developers out there pushing the graphics envelope but best of all it means I finally have a reason to upgrade! :D

No, this game is just poorly coded.
 

AT-AT28

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I found that SSAO tended to get a tad over-zealous on the shading effect. I kept seeing black halos around objects that shouldn't be shaded, and the effect was so distracting that I ended up turning off ambient occlusion altogether.

You have that backwards
 

Meeho

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...which goes away if you add a final sharpening step (BF3 does this, as does the popular FXAA injector (it's an option).

So first you degrade the original detailed texture with blurring, and then you sharpen it? Sounds terrible.
 

AT-AT28

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Alpha to Coverage, in short, utilizes multisample antialiasing to reduce aliasing on all vegetation, trees, and grass in this game. When MSAA is turned to "Off" you will not get any Alpha to Coverage even if it is on Enhanced. In order to benefit from Alpha to Coverage you need at the very least 2X MSAA enabled. We also noticed that increasing from 4X to 8X MSAA had no effect on Alpha to Coverage quality. All you simply need to do is at least have 2X MSAA turned on in-game an then Alpha to Coverage will function.


Wow, that really sucks. So i'm forced to use AA to even benefit from Alpha coverage? Guess i'll just turn it off then and benefit from a few more FPS. I've never cared for AA in an all my PC gaming years. Makes games look like im playing through a foggy mist, kills framerates and requires more expensive hardware to run decently.

No thanks
 

homernoy

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Wow, that really sucks. So i'm forced to use AA to even benefit from Alpha coverage? Guess i'll just turn it off then and benefit from a few more FPS. I've never cared for AA in an all my PC gaming years. Makes games look like im playing through a foggy mist, kills framerates and requires more expensive hardware to run decently.

No thanks

Huh? Are you talking about anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering? Generally anti aliasing makes an image more 'crisp' not foggy. I think you might be talking about depth of field, or FXAA? Here is a video of FarCry 3 gameplay that I made maxed out using all of the features that you feel makes your gaming experience worse. Make sure to play this in 1080p. This was hastily made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9_fcweynyo&list=UUA-yZB4OhFrc7e-qtUsG9_g&index=1
 

Revdarian

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AT-AT28

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Huh? Are you talking about anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering? Generally anti aliasing makes an image more 'crisp' not foggy. I think you might be talking about depth of field, or FXAA? Here is a video of FarCry 3 gameplay that I made maxed out using all of the features that you feel makes your gaming experience worse. Make sure to play this in 1080p. This was hastily made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9_fcweynyo&list=UUA-yZB4OhFrc7e-qtUsG9_g&index=1

AA and no, it does not make images more "crisp" it makes the edges all blurry and I farking hate it.
 

Simplex

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Can someone confirm if SMAA injector (SweetFX) works with FC3 in DX11, or not?

I had the same problem until I disabled in-game Vsync and forced Adaptive Vsync from the Nvidia Control Panel. Much better that way.

Tried this and found it unplayable - whenever my FPS dropped below refresh rate (which was often, because as we already established FC3 is poorly coded and badly optimized game) I would get massive distracting screen tear.
 

Simplex

Limp Gawd
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Same here. Stable 50fps without stutter or screen tearing is also buttery smooth for me.
 

Simplex

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Thanks for feedback. I hope either FC3 will be patched to be compatbile with SMAA, or SweetFX will be updated to be compatible with FC3.
 

x3sphere

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Don't really see why Far Cry 3 is getting praise for not just being another console port. Felt like a console port to me. Yeah there's a lot of graphical options but you can't really fine-tune any of them, it's all presets. The HUD feels like it was made for a console and unless they've added the option since there was no way to turn it off when I bought the game on release day.

Beyond that the DX11 implementation is pretty much worthless, adds a huge performance penalty for what... soft shadows? That's been done in DX9 before.

Crysis 2, which was absolutely trashed here, did more with DX11. I like the game but I don't feel as if Ubi went out of their way to make this a great PC game at all... so praising them for it makes no sense to me. Oh well.
 

Simplex

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I agree. Most of all, I don't understand the praise for unjustifiably high hardware requirements. This game is badly optimized, it is not looking so stunningly great that it justifies the requirements (cf. Crysis in 2007).
 

Blue.chord

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I agree. Most of all, I don't understand the praise for unjustifiably high hardware requirements. This game is badly optimized, it is not looking so stunningly great that it justifies the requirements (cf. Crysis in 2007).

Marketing.

"Our latest cutting edge graphics pushes your hardware to their limits"
 

Simplex

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Well yeah, marketing must do what marketing does, but I actually meant praise from the [H] review.
 

Orthello

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Still can't get this game to run smooth in DX11 at any setting low - ultra , it actually runs all the same 55 - 60 fps and the stuttering pretty much makes it unplayable in DX11. This needs a driver patch or game patch. DX9 is silky smooth with about 30% less utilisation per card whilst enabling all the AA via CCC.
 

Simplex

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Still can't get this game to run smooth in DX11 at any setting low - ultra , it actually runs all the same 55 - 60 fps and the stuttering pretty much makes it unplayable in DX11. This needs a driver patch or game patch. DX9 is silky smooth with about 30% less utilisation per card whilst enabling all the AA via CCC.

Did you try setting your refresh rate to 50Hz? The game stutters when your fps drops below your refresh rate, so that could help.
 

Orthello

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Simplex, unfortunately my monitor won't do 50hz .. well possibly i just need to update the inf file for it (its under generic pnp atm) . Its stuck at 60 hz atm. Its weird, no matter what the detail the frame rates are the same. Flying to 60fps with odd frames dipping below which are very noticeable. I can limit the frame rate to 50 hz but monitor still syncs at 60 fps so thats not smooth either.
 
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