World in Conflict Hardware Performance Guide

World in Conflict running a little sluggish? We'll tell you what you need to upgrade to get the most out of the game.

World in Conflict relives the cold war in a very different way. Instead of closing the cold war with a gradual drawdown and anticlimactic whimper, Russia launches an all-out invasion of the United States. The developers went all out on the graphics to render the scope of these battles. Well-designed small towns and massive cities are common these days, but World in Conflict's skyline, smoke trails, and explosions will leave you breathless.

We used World in Conflict's built-in benchmark for our testing. The demo shows off numerous special effects that include the water, clouds, shadowing, and the now-infamous nuclear blast. We averaged the results of three separate runs to generate our final scores.

Game Settings
World in Conflict has a tremendous number of settings, so many that you'll have to enable or disable several of them to affect performance significantly. We toggle all of them to find out which settings will give you back the most performance.

Graphics
DirectX 10 support, a minimum requirement of Direct X9.0c, and deformable terrain all mean one thing: You're going to need a good video card. The minimum specs require at least a GeForce 6600 GT, but we'd recommend going a few notches higher. Check out the graphics section to find out how the game performs across a variety of video cards as well as in Windows Vista with DirectX 10.

CPU
World in Conflict loves CPU cores. If you're on an aging Pentium 4 or a single-core Athlon 64 you will really want to consider upgrading to a dual-core chip.

Memory
World in Conflict requires 512MB of memory in XP and 1GB of memory in Vista. We tested the game with 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 3GB of RAM to see how much memory the game really needs to function. The game barely loads with 512MB of system memory and actually automatically disables numerous graphics options.

Sample System Performance

We put together a few sample systems to show how the game performed using real-world computers. Our single-core Pentium 4 2.8GHz system with GeForce 6800 barely ran the game with low settings at 1024x768. The AMD Athlon 64 4000+ with Radeon X1650 XT put up decent performance at 1280x1024 with medium settings, although to get it playable we had to dial the resolution down to 1024x768. The dual-core Athlon 64 FX-60 paired with Radeon X1900 XT 256MB ran very well at 1280x1024 with medium settings. Both of our Intel Core 2 setups paired with GeForce 8800 series cards ran World in Conflict very well, but the GeForce 8800 GTX, 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 system tripled the frame rates of our GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB system.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel Core 2 E6600, Intel 975XBX2, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows Vista. Graphics Cards: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition, beta Nvidia ForceWare 163.44.
Athlon 64 FX-60, Athlon 64 4000+, Asus A8R32 MVP Deluxe, 1GB Corsair XMS Memory (512MB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Cards: Radeon X1900 XT 256MB, Radeon X1650 XT 256MB, ATI Catalyst 7.9.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz, Asus P4C800, 1GB Corsair XMS Memory (512MB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 6800 128MB, beta Nvidia ForceWare 163.44.

Game Settings

World in Conflict has pages of tweakable settings. We found that most individual settings don't sap performance too much, but your frame rates will rapidly deteriorate once you start enabling all the settings. With settings like "windows on buildings," "flowers and bushes," and "grass," the game slices and dices your computer with the death of a thousand cuts. One setting here, another there, and suddenly those Russian tanks are approaching you in a slide show.

The game has a handful of grouped settings that automatically turn off five or more other settings when disabled. We have image-quality comparisons on the following pages that demonstrate how the game looks with the settings enabled and disabled.

The preset image quality settings vary quite a bit. The difference between medium and low is the most drastic and yields nearly triple the performance. You can easily free up some performance between very high quality and high quality by lowering the amount of antialiasing, because the very high quality setting has a preset of 4xAA.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 8600 GTS, Nvidia ForceWare 163.44

Image Quality Comparison

Mouse over the default screenshot to see the comparison image.

Very High Quality DirectX 10 vs. High Quality DirectX 10


Very High Quality DirectX 9 vs. High Quality DirectX 9


High Quality DirectX 9 vs. Medium Quality


Medium Quality vs. Low Quality


Low Quality vs. Very Low Quality


Image Quality Comparison Continued

Mouse over the default screenshot to see the comparison image.

Very High Quality DirectX 10 vs. Very High Quality DirectX 9


High Quality DirectX 10 vs. High Quality DirectX 9


Pixel Shaders High vs. Pixel Shaders Low – DirectX9


Post Processing Enabled vs. Post Processing Disabled – DirectX9


Clouds Enabled vs. Clouds Disabled – DirectX9


Image Quality Comparison Continued

Mouse over the default screenshot to see the comparison image.

High Quality Terrain Enabled vs. High Quality Terrain Disabled


Bloom Enabled vs. Bloom Disabled


Shadows Enabled vs. Shadows Disabled


Texture Quality High vs. Texture Quality Low


World Distance Detail Very High vs. World Distance Very Low


Z-Feather Enabled vs. Z-Feather Disabled


Video Cards

World in Conflict requires a video card that supports DirectX9.0c, which means you will need at the very minimum an Nvidia GeForce 6600 series, ATI Radeon X1300 series, or better card. World in Conflict is playable on the weaker DirectX 9.0c cards, but you're going to need a powerhouse to get the game looking its best.

Performance scaled as expected with single video-card solutions, but dual-card configurations gave us problems. The GeForce 8800 GTX SLI setup performed the same as our single GeForce 8800 GTX, and our CrossFire Radeon HD 2900 XT crashed the game on loading. The dual-card setups tend to offer spotty performance on new games before Nvidia and ATI rush out their patches.

The game looks great in DirectX 9, but World in Conflict might be the first game that will actually make you consider splurging on a DirectX 10-capable video card and Windows Vista. The DirectX 10 card and Vista give you access to two additional graphics options: DirectX 10 rendering and cloud shadows. Both add a tremendous amount of detail to the game's skyline.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, eVGA 680i SLI, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Cards: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB, XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition, GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB, GeForce 8600 GT 256MB, GeForce 7900 GS 256MB, GeForce 7600 GT 256MB, GeForce 6800 128MB, GeForce 6600GT 128MB, Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB, Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB, Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256MB, Radeon HD 2400 XT 256MB, Radeon X1950 XTX 512MB, Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB, Radeon X1900 XT 256MB, Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB, Radeon X1650 XT 256MB, Radeon X1300 XT 256MB. Graphics Drivers: beta Nvidia ForceWare163.44, ATI Catalyst 7.9

CPU

Most of our Intel Core 2 CPUs performed well in World in Conflict, but the tests showed us that clock speeds actually matter again. Our 1.86GHz Core 2 E6300 was 30% slower than the 2.4GHz Core 2.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, Intel Core 2 Duo E6300, Intel 975XBX2, AMD Athlon 64 FX-60, AMD Athlon 64 4000+, ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GBx2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 GTX, beta Nvidia ForceWare 163.44.

Memory

World in Conflict requires 512MB of RAM in Windows XP, and 1GB when run in Vista. God help whoever actually tries to play the game with only 512MB of memory. The game is atrocious with only the minimum required memory. Load times were long, and the game stuttered far too much. The game even grays out all the preset settings higher than low quality, although you can still manually enable the settings one by one in the advanced menu.

Performance plateaued once we pushed both systems up to 2GB of RAM. Load times dropped considerably, and the frame rates increased by quite a bit in Windows XP.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 X6800, Intel 975XBX2, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), Corsair XMS Memory 1GB (512MB x 2), Corsair XMS Memory 512MB, 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista. Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB, beta Nvidia ForceWare 163.44.

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