If you are still on the fence about whether SC: Blacklist is your sort of stealth em up, then head over to our Blacklist review. But if you are unsure about how your mid range graphics card will hold up under Sam's interrogation, then read on.
We have taken a look at the lower end benchmarks of an AMD HD 6670 already and that managed to squeeze out a game, if you are prepared to drop the resolution and graphics settings. This next article covers Blacklist benchmarks for the slightly more powerful Nvidia GTX 560 Ti...
Splinter Cell Blacklist was benchmarked on an Intel i5-2500K Nvidia GTX 560 Ti 8 GB RAM PC and the Blacklist graphics settings we used for "Ultra" looked almost as you can see in the image below. I will explain why I say "almost", after you take a look at the image.
Above the image I said "almost" because we did not actually select or use the Anti-aliasing option you can see highlighted. I am referring to the "SSAA 2x2 Rotated Grid" Blacklist anti-aliasing option. Selecting that would have lowered our frames per second beyond the results we achieved on our Ultra play through. Instead we used the default Ultra setting for Anti-Aliasing, which was the more familiar FXAA (Full Scene Anti-Aliasing) option.
I wanted to draw our attention to the SSAA 2x2 Rotated Grid option because, I suspect that most of us havent a clue what it is. So I figured I would try and educate.
The first part actually stands for SuperSampling AntiAliasing. This is the process of taking a sample of colour from a point on neighbouring pixels and then adjusting the colour of the primary pixel to be a blend of colour based on those found on the neighbouring pixels. Sheesh, did that make sense to you? Anyway, I am pretty sure you guys understand that all of these AA approaches are an attempt to smooth out jagged lines and make the games shapes merge together seamlessly. All this magical splicing of pixels and averaging of neighbouring colours takes a lot of extra processing power and that is why we often have dedicated graphics processing units, to help deal with this stuff.
The 2x2 Rotated Grid part of the graphics option refers to the locations on the neighbouring pixel that the sample colour is taken from. Here is an image to show you where on a pixel the samples are taken from.
A 2×2 grid layout is used but the sample pattern is rotated to avoid samples aligning on the horizontal or vertical axis, greatly improving anti-aliasing quality for the most commonly encountered cases.
Any the wiser? No? Ahh never mind, lets get into the Blacklist GTX 560 Ti frame rates, as that is all you really need to know.
Benchmarking Splinter Cell Blacklist
We decided to check and see if updating drivers would make any difference to the frame rate outcome and if so, by how much.
Splinter Cell Blacklist benchmarked on Intel i5-2500K Nvidia GTX 560 Ti 8 GB RAM with Nvidia's 314.21 drivers.
And then we ran the same tests again with the latest Nvidia drivers.
Splinter Cell Blacklist benchmarked on Intel i5-2500K Nvidia GTX 560 Ti 8 GB RAM with Nvidia's 320.49 drivers.
That freaky FPS drop, when selecting High graphics setting on Blacklist, that we saw with the AMD HD 6670, is still visible in both tests. If we get time we will isolate the cause of that and let you know.
The bench results show that Splinter Cell is perfectly playable with Ultra settings using the Nvidia 560 Ti 8 GB of RAM and an Intel i5 2500K. Getting an average of 30 FPS even at 1920x1080 screen resolution is great for Ultra settings. For those people with a beast GPU you can up the Anti-Aliasing even more, selecting the aforementioned SSAA 2x2 Rotated Grid option to get an even nicer image.
Swapping to the latest drivers looks like it helps towards the bottom end of the graphics settings. So if you are looking to run an Nvidia based card on Blacklist and likely need to drop your graphics settings to Low or medium then definitely upgrade your graphics card drivers. Just visit their main website and search for the latest drivers.
If you want to see how well your own graphics card shapes up to the Nvidia GTX 560 Ti that we used here for benchmarks then head to our GTX 560 Ti comparison page and take a look.
If you are interested, we are looking to continue the Splinter cell Blacklist Benchmark reports by running our tests on a Nvidia GTX 670 and will see what sort of effect we can find by playing with the SSAA 2x2 Rotated Grid option.
Dont forget to check out the AMD HD 6670 Blacklist benchmark tests, if you havent done already.