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SB Pro PE performance with various grahics cards

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Graphics card recommendations for Steel Beasts Professional

Polling our beta testers for their recommendations and experiences with the performance of Steel Beasts Professional, we came up with the following list.

To make things a bit easier, we have defined four categories,

  1. Not recommended
    These graphics card chips will not necessarily crash when starting up SB Pro, but do not expect enjoyable performance at even the most frugal settings.
  2. SVGA suitable
    These graphics card chips are expected to perform reasonably well at the lowest screen resolution, 800x600. Occasional frame rate drops may occur especially when looking with high magnification settings into deep forests.
  3. XGA suitable
    These graphics card chips are expected to perform adequately at a screen resolution of 1024x768 (XGA). You may still need to disable antialiasing, but overall the performance will be good.
  4. SXGA+
    These graphics card chips are expected to perform very well, even at screen resolutions exceeding XGA, and usually with antialiasing and other functions enabled which improve the image quality even further.

These recommendations are rather conservative, and they are exclusively based on subjective gut feeling. Notice also that the style of play as well as scenario design and the terrain of a scenario's map may have an influence. People playing primarily from the map view and external view will probably not suffer from frame rate dips at all, while those who love the gunner's places and look into deep forests often will probably want to err on the high side.

ATi Radeon

Radeon 9250

Radeon 9200

Radeon 9200 SE

Radeon 9500

Radeon 9550

Radeon 9500 Pro

Radeon 9600

Radeon 9600 XT

Radeon 9600 Pro

Radeon 9700

Radeon 9700 Pro

Radeon 9800

Radeon 9800 XT

Radeon 9800 Pro

Radeon 9850 Pro

Radeon X300

Radeon X550

Radeon X600

Radeon X700

Radeon X800

Radeon X850

Radeon X1300

Radeon X1600

Radeon X1800

Mobility Radeon 9000

Mobility Radeon 9200

Mobility Radeon 9600

Mobility Radeon 9700

Mobility Radeon 9800

Mobility Radeon X300

Mobility Radeon X600

Mobility Radeon X700

Mobility Radeon X800

NVidia GeForce

GeForce 3 Ti

GeForce 4 MX

GeForce 4 Ti4200

GeForce 4 Ti4400

GeForce 4 Ti4600

GeForce FX 5200

GeForce PCX 5300

GeForce FX 5600

GeForce FX 5900 XT

GeForce FX 5900

GeForce FX 5900 Ultra

GeForce 6100

GeForce 6150

GeForce 6200

GeForce 6200 TC

GeForce 6500

GeForce 6600 LE

GeForce 6600

GeForce 6600 GT

GeForce 6800 XT

GeForce 6800

GeForce 6800 GT

GeForce 6800 Ultra

GeForce 7800 GT

GeForce 7800 GTX

GeForce4 4200 Go

GeForce FX Go5200

GeForce FX Go5600

GeForce FX Go6800

GeForce FX Go7800 GTX

GeForce 8600M GT

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The point that is quite sad IMO, is that I did bought a laptop last year, one of the main reasons was SB PPE. The "nearly best" was ATI Radeon Mobility 9700, and I see that I will barely be able to run the sim at medium detail with a poor resolution (800x600 is a poor resolution, as I run most games at least at 1024x768).

I, too, have a notebook with a Radeon mobility 9700 to show Steel Beasts Pro to prospective customers (and for occasional LAN tests at friends' places), and I'm satisfied with the performance. The catch is, everybody has slightly different expectations about what is considered "acceptable". I think that SB Pro PE runs adequately well at XGA resolution here, although this still is kinda sad since the notebook has a 1450x1024 display, so one would actually want to use its native resolution - but that's just the way it is.

I also think that it is a question of mission design. Some scenario designers do not accept this, but it's standard practice with every game to tailor the level to the desired performance. If today's graphics cards don't handle overdraw scenes well, we need to adapt, and either pick maps or predefine battle positions where the player doesn't have to scan into flat plains filled with millions of trees. That's the killer scene. There are so many triangles overlapping each other that all graphics cards can be bogged down.

A performance conscious scenario designer will therefore place the player in regions where deep forests are combined with hills that break the LOS to all the other trees behind the foreground, thus allowing the engine to cut off the calculations at that point and perform better.

Other games simply don't ship with maps that contain many trees - like BoF, for example. Neither the Half-life 2 nor the Doom 3 engine would perform better under the circumstances under which we have to operate. It is therefore imperative that scenario design helps a bit to keep performance high. Fortunately, SB Pro is not an egoshooter, so lower frame rates are not necessarily a killer.

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So was Pe actually tested on all the above video cards or were they just listed by what's hottest and newest.Find it hard the 9200se series is in red when i can run any game on it made today including Hl2 on high.....and she is Directx 9.0C.

I was going to buy a new system but i'll wait til i see performance reviews for dual core processors,sata raid drives&dual video cards.

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Not all of these performance estimates are based on personal experiences. It could be that you find yourself being able to run it, and even finding it an enjoyable experience. The estimate is a conservative one.

The following graphics chips have been tested by our beta testers:

Radeon 9600, XT, Pro

Radeon 9700, Pro

Radeon 9800 Pro

Radeon X800

Mobility Radeon 9000

Mobility Radeon 9700

GeForce 3Ti

GeForce 4MX,

GeForce 4200Ti

GeForce 4400Ti

GeForce 4600Ti

GeForce FX 5600

GeForce FX 5900, XT, Ultra

GeForce 6600, GT

GeForce 6800, Ultra

GeForce 7800 GTX

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Two issues:

1) SLI-support?

Does SB Pro support SLI, so that you get a performance increase when adding a second graphics card?

2) The effects of high vs low screen resolution?

Is the graphic elements designed to always be shown with the same number of pixels or at the same percentage of screen resolution? I think this is an important issue (very important for SB2) since it can have a great impact on the "battlefield performance".

If the number of pixels used is constant then a higher resolution will result in a wider field of view and thereby increased situational awareness. At the same time all items will be smaller on the screen, so you'll need a larger screen to actually see what's there and read the texts. This rewards those that can afford a large monitor and a hefty graphics card to go with it in a way that's out of proportion.

For the military users I don't think it's a problem since all users (within the class) can be assumed to have equivalent hardware, but for multiplayer in the civilian community it can make a huge difference.

Better then to make sure that all users get the same amount of info (see the same amount of map/terrain) in any given view. At higher resolution it just looks "prettier", with small details visible at longer range and such and diagonal lines look less edgy.

Cheers

Olle

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1) I dont know - no one has tried it. However, if you want to buy me a SLI setup I will report back ;-) I will say this about it - from the reading i've done, the performance boost from SLI is not that good in all cases (15-20%?), and in some cases it cuts the performance. If the game developer must do something special to support it, then i'm sure that SB Pro will not support it right now. If its something implemented at the driver level automatically, then maybe.

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Just wondering anyone....would you think it would be worthwhile for me to replace my Athlon 2500XP for a 3000XP to run Pro PE?...I can get a brand new 3000 for 100 bucks. My 2500 is locked and I would hate to take the chance of screwing it up to unlock it. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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No, 2.5 GHz will do just nicely. 20% nominal processor speed increase are hardly noticeable in practice. I would seriously consider a CPU upgrade only if at least a factor of 2 or 3 could be achieved.

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My CPU upgrade path is largely governed by the fastest CPU my current motherboard can take. I think I started out with an Athlon XP1800+ on my Asus mobo and subsequently upgraded to a 2400+ and now a 3000+. The performance improvements are not great, but they are there. Best of all, CPU prices always decrease in time so by the time I upgrade they are very cheap.

On another note, I recently upgraded my ATI R9700Pro to a nVidia GeForce6800GT and got a huge performance boost!

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Did all Leo2A5 tutorials this afternoon and SB Pro PE runs smooth and without any problems. Running everything full screen 1600x1200 4xAA 8xAF. Excellent piece of software!! :D

AMD Athlon 64 4000+

2 GB (2x 1 GB) DDR400 Mem

Ati X1900XTX with ver 6.2 drivers

Windows XP SP2

Cheers!

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AMD Athlon 64 4000+

2 GB (2x 1 GB) DDR400 Mem

Ati X1900XTX with ver 6.2 drivers

Windows XP SP2

I have something close to what you have:

AMD Athlon 64 4000+ Clawhammer

2 GB (2x 1 GB) DDR400 Mem

Nvidea 7800GT

Maxtor Sata HD with 16 MB cache

SB Pro PE runs as smooth as silk. 8)

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Another data point:

HP ZD7280 laptop, P4 3.2Ghz, GeForce 5700 Go, 1600 X 1300 (ish), no AA (I think), 1Gb RAM, Windows XP SP2 (bleah - wish SB Pro PE ran in Linux...)

Framerates reported between 50 and 19 (Leo1 reports slower framerates for some reason)

But the subjective experience is fine. I have yet to see anything that I would call slowdown, stutter, or other misbehaviour, including in large scenarios. Perfectly playable; nice and smooth.

DG

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Amendment to my last:

It seems if there is a lot of grass around, that'll bog my system down. Playing "instant action" with Leo1 got framerates as low a 6 FPS, and at that point, the slowdown was enough to affect gunnery.

Switching to TIS brought the frame rate back though.

DG

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I had a 2.0 ghz (3000+) Athlon, 512mb RAM, and a GF4 Ti4200 (128mb) 8x AGP card.

I was able to play the game at playable framerates (800 * 600 x 16bit) though on occasions it became very choppy when viewing long distances. (8-10 FPS)

I beat the instant action mission with this setup, so I guess the framerates couldn't have been too poor.

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I'm running a Dell XPS laptop 3.4 GHZ P4 1GB RAM and a ATI 9700 Radeon Mobility chip. I have read that I can expect to run it at 800x600 with possible slowdowns.

I have a similar notebook, and run our software with 1024x768 when showing off to customers. I think that the performance of the 9700 mobility is sufficient for that resolution (no antialiasing activated, though).

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Typical framerates are 25-35, occasionally dipping into the 15s or so. If you want constantly high frame rates, 800x600 would be the way to go.

As far as widescreen resolutions are concerned, SB works with whatever your graphics card driver can come up with. But for a 1920x1200 resolution one would probably want a GeForce 7800 GTX or Radeon X1800. But if you have other resolutions with a similar aspect ratio, you could use them to fill the screen, yes.

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Surprisingly, the sim works guite well on my Dell Inspiron 710m, which only has 512 mb of RAM, and uses the Intel Extreme Graphics chipset with 64 mb of shared memory. I run it with "Details" set to "Low" (still looks very good to me), in it's native resolution of 1280 x 800. As long as the terrain isn't too cluttered , there are no pauses or slowdowns, even in zoomed views - the demo scenario that Ssnake created, recon with the HMMVW's, is an example of one that works well on the notebook. I had thought I would use the notebook mainly for the 2D things like map and scenario creation, but was pleased to find I could do much more...(I have a regular desktop as well, for "real" play).

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After first impressions, I thought I was being a little ham-strung with my 2500XP and 9800PRO. I have my resolution at 1024x768, low detail, downloaded latest video driver with no AA or Antisotropic and all seems quite well. Smooth!

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Another update:

Changing screen res down from 1600X1000 (ish) to 1400 X 900 restored framerate to the point to where the Instant Action missons were playable through the daysight.

Detail is on "medium" I think.

This is on a GeForce 5700 Go widescreen laptop.

DG

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On topic: GeForce 6800GT and 2GHz Athlon64. Runs 60fps+ smoothly at 1280x1024x32 without AA.

Off topic: I disagree with you there, Bluewings. I had so many headaches with ATI's forsaken windows drivers that I cannot count the number of times I've slammed my fist on my keyboard in agony. We're talking about outright bugs and levels of incompetence that you would not expect from a gfx company. Like earlier versions of their drivers hard-crashing Windows on mipmap generation under certain circumstances. Turns out that what they implemented was "something similar" to OpenGL, but not quite exactly the same.

As for NVidia drivers, I am a little irritated at their latest "artificial incompatibilities" that lock out older/mobile chipsets from their unified drivers, when in fact those drivers work *perfectly* after you do some .inf file modifications to force the install. Other than that, they are immensely superior to what ATI releases to customers. Let's not forget which company outright cheated in the Quake3 benchmarks... and still cheats by using less precision throughout a wide range of operations. At least NVidia had the common courtesy to put up a slider where you can select whether you want such "optimisations" or not from the very beginning.

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Ssnake, please tell me how will work this configuration:

Athlon XP 2500+ (1,8GHz)

512 RAM

Radeon 800GT (not GTO)

or

RADEON 1600

?

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Ravenn, I think that both cards will be fine for SB Pro PE; the X1600 obviously faster than the X800 of course. It might depend a bit on your desired screen resolution and antialiasing settings.

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