Just Cause 2 Gameplay Performance and Image Quality

Just Cause 2 is here for your acrobatic action hero fix, bringing with it plenty of mind-bending stunts, frantic gun-play, and airborne high-speed chases. We'll examine this new game's performance with four of today's most sought-after video cards and let you know which one is the best match for your upgrade needs. Fermi vs. 5800!

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Apples to Apples Comparisons

On the previous page, we explored different graphics settings in Just Cause 2 options as a way to set these four video cards apart. The tests were not necessarily objective with respect to each other, but rather it was a way to allow each video card to tell us what caliber of experience we could expect from it in this particular game.

In this section, we will explore objective tests using framerate data instead of graphics options in order to set these video cards apart from each other. All of these tests were performed on a level playing field, with the graphics options set identically for each testing iteration.


Performance Scaling with NVIDIA-Exclusive Graphics Options

For this first test, we wanted to find out what the performance situation looks like when we turn on the GPU Water Simulation option and the Bokeh filter option. We ran this test on the GeForce GTX 480 running at 2560x1600 with AA disabled and all other in-game options set at their highest respective levels.

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The light blue line shows performance with both of the aforementioned options turned on. The pale yellow line shows performance with GPU Water Simulation turned off, but Bokeh filtering turned on. The dark red line shows performance with both GPU Water Simulation and Bokeh filtering turned off.

We can see that there is a persistent impact in performance all the way down the line. Performance is obviously best with those options turned off, and it diminishes by 5% if we turn Bokeh filtering on. When we then turn GPU Water Simulation on, we lose another 11% of our average framerate.

Performance was very much playable with both Bokeh filtering and GPU Water Simulation disabled at 2560x1600 with no AA, but we found that we could enable both of those options AND 8X AA if we just turned the resolution down to 1920x1200. In the end, we found that 8X AA plus Bokeh filtering and GPU Water Simulation gave us a better experience than just a higher resolution, so we made that tradeoff.


Card to Card Combat

In the following comparisons, we will directly compare performance of NVIDIA and AMD video cards to each other in a subjective fashion. This means that Bokeh filtering and GPU Water Simulation were both disabled for these tests.

GeForce GTX 480 vs. Radeon HD 5870

For this test, we are comparing NVIDIA’s flagship single-GPU video card to AMD’s flagship single-GPU video card. This test was run at 2560x1600 with 16X AF, no AA, and with Bokeh filtering and GPU Water Simulation disabled

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In this test, the Radeon HD 5870 came out about 16% faster than the GeForce GTX 480 when using the same exact graphics options.

GeForce GTX 470 vs. Radeon HD 5850

Here we are comparing the GeForce GTX 470 directly to the Radeon HD 5850 with precisely the same graphics settings configured. This test was run at 1920x1200 with no AA and 16X AF.

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Again we found that the AMD Radeon-based video card was about 16% faster than the NVIDIA competition.

GeForce GTX 480 vs. Radeon HD 5850

In the previous page of this evaluation, we experienced higher framerates at 1920x1200 with 8X AA when using the Radeon HD 5850 than we did with the GeForce GTX 480. This was because the GTX 480 was running the two NVIDIA-specific graphical features, so it was doing more work. So for this test, we’ve leveled the playing field between these two video cards to show you how they actually stack up against each other.

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In this test, we find that the Radeon HD 5850 is about 7% slower than the GeForce GTX 480 at 1920x1200 with no AA, and with no Bokeh filtering or GPU Simulated Water enabled.