We know there’s not much out there that’s a sterner test on a gaming PC’s power than the glorious pairing that is Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. Never in our lives has staring at a subway tunnel looked so damn good.
Against all odds the team at 4A Games took a universally boring and overused location and turned it into two dank, oppressive, deeply atmospheric, and gorgeous adventures. The Metro series melts GPUs for fun, so we thought it would be the ultimate vehicle to put the GD Machine 2014 through its paces, in our GeForce GTX 750 Ti Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light benchmarks…
For Metro 2033 we used the Normal, High and Very High quality systems, which each alter the myriad of options beneath the Gamma settings. We also took the results across three different resolutions; 1280x720, 1600x900, and 1920x1080. For our Metro benchmarks we believe these give the best comparison with console gaming, particularly the recent furore over 1080p resolution.
In the Metro 2033 benchmarks Analytic Antialiasing (AAA) was used. This works by internally doubling the resolution and then scaling it back down, without detecting edges such as traditional antialiasing methods - more details of which can be found here. It's Morphological Antialiasing in all but name, and is a post-processing shader that offers greater performance versus MSAA. Anisotropic Filtering was set at 16x to provide to provide the best possible picture quality.
GD Machine 2014 Metro 2033 Benchmarks Settings Screen
GD Machine 2014 vs Metro 2033 Nvidia GTX 750 Ti Benchmark
As you can see from the Metro 2033 benchmarks, the GD Machine 2014 tore through all of the Medium, High and Very High settings with ease, despite running considerably slower in comparison once the resolution was maxed out to 1920x1080. Despite this Metro 2033 remained extremely playable on the higher settings, notching well above 60 fps average. There were of course occasional dips during scenes of intense lighting, but overall it handled Metro 2033 with aplomb. Playing at 720p was lightning fast, although of course the image quality did suffer somewhat. The leap from 1600x900 to 1920x1080 isn’t all that easy to tell apart with the naked eye, so if you’re willing to make that minor sacrifice you need never fear dipping below 60 frames per second in Metro 2033.
Metro: Last Light
Once again for Metro: Last Light we used the Normal, High and Very High options, tested on the same three resolutions; 1920x1080, 1600x900, and 1280x720.
This time there was unfortunately no AAA option, so we plumped for the more demanding 2xSSAA in Metro Last Light, with 16x AF once more.
GD Machine 2014 Metro: Last Light Benchmarks Settings Screen
GD Machine 2014 vs Metro: Last Light Nvidia GTX 750 Ti Benchmark
I wasn’t quite aware just how much more of a demanding beast Metro: Last Light was until I did these benchmarks. In comparison to Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light is an absolute beast, for only minor visual gains in my opinion. 6 of the graphics benchmarks for Metro 2033 posted at 100 FPS+, while just 3 made it in the Last Light tests.
1280x720 and 1600x900 in Metro: Last Light is fine and perfectly playable across the board, with Very High still providing average FPS of 56 @ 900p. Things definitely started to slow up a little at 1080p though. While the majority of the time it was perfect playable on Medium and High, Very High at times had noticeably abrupt frame rate drops. I wouldn’t recommend gamers with a similar rig playing on this setting, but knocking it down to High made Metro: Last Light a much more playable experience.
I think the 2xSSAA is having a big impact here, and personally it’s the first thing I’d drop for a more playable experience in Metro: Last Light. The difference in visuals to me was negligible when I briefly tested it, but it could well have a big impact on the higher resolutions.
Nvidia PhysX Issue In Metro: Last Light
One oddity I did encounter when I first started up was insanely low frame rates in Metro: Last Light. I’d set it to Very High, 1920x1080 to kick things off, and was expecting a little bit of a struggle. It started off okay, before the FPS just tumbled to 9 or so. I whacked the settings right on down to Medium @ 720p and the exact same thing happened, this time down to around 8 FPS. I don’t know whether this is an issue particular to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti, or whether it's the GeForce GTX 700 series in general, but for those asking why is my frame rate dropping in Metro: Last Light, the answer is PhysX. Disabling PhysX in the Metro: Last Light game settings screen is a surefire framerate fix. It may be an issue specific to the 750 Ti, or a possible driver issue, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you're having trouble running Metro: Last Light.
When it comes to benchmarks, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are very different beasts. The GD Machine 2014 flew through Metro 2033 with ease, only coming unstuck up against the might of Metro: Last Light. I would have to say that 1600x900 is most definitely the sweet spot, with Very High for the most part being perfectly playable. It’s clear the GeForce 750 Ti lacks the memory and sheer grunt of a higher-priced card when playing a truly demanding game like Metro: Last Light at higher resolutions, but with a bit of tweaking it can more than hold its own. For those opting for a Steambox-like experience from their PC, this sort of setup can deliver in spades. The additional distance from the Tv/monitor definitely piles less pressure on the resolution.
Be sure to check out more of our benchmarks on the GD Machine 2014 in the near future, as we put some of PC gaming's finest to the test throughout the year.