Thursday, September 24, 2009

Age of Conan - This is a ..uh ..setup

Ah ...who am I kidding. Titles like that above will get me shot for sure. (Setup / Stickup...get it?...haha...yea)

Anyways, today is the first part of my series on performance, hardware and bang for buck when playing Age of Conan.

Since it's release, AoC has become the game most likely to fry your computer system (and I still remember the forum posts from those who said it actually did...hehe).
The capabilities, especially in DX10 of Conan shows that it is trying to be on par with First Person Shooter's in graphic details. This does not always bode well for an MMO though.
When speed is everything, and staying logged in and not blue screening or crashing is the foremost thought on the players mind...we need to make sure that we have the PC guts to keep it together.
Luckily, since launch, changes have been made to the code, and it does run smoother. That is...until you find the "hardcore" spots.

No matter the power of your system, if you have certain features turned prepared to lose over 3/4 of your frame rate.

Here she is

This will be my test spot as I try to find the right settings using the right components and then comparing price points to see what you can get for the cash.
BTW, zoom in on that pic. would see that the FPS in the upper left is...15.1.
I will post other comparison spots later as this series continues to show how the framerates normally run.
As one example, I can hit over 120FPS in some spots, and usually hover between 60-80 on a good outing.

Now, to make sure we understand what my test motives will be, I first of all cranked everything for the above picture. That is the sweet spot. Then I will slowly turn off features and go through settings adjusting to see what works best.

The above picture was done on my new i5-750 system with a 4890 and 4 gigs of DDR3 1600.

Here are the settings I used in game.

Now, I will note, I will NOT be using DX9 for this report. AoC has next gen capabilities in the software, and I see no reason to step back.
Lets look to the future.
Age of Conan is the ONLY MMO on the market that is 100% DX10 compliant (note: uses all features...DDO does not, LOTRO does not...not even EvE). And yet, it is still in "test" mode (lol). But, all reports point to the fact that the DX10 implementation is fully realized, thus lets see how it makes our systems work.

Moving on, for the cards I am using (ATI and Nvidia) these are the settings used in the respective control panels.

So, we see both ATI and Nvidia each have specific settings which can enhance the game, or help the game be faster...and ATI even allows me total clock control (for OC'ing, which I will be doing in this series.)

Finally, today is the new ATI 5870 will be arriving. This card is suppose to be a beast...but will it have any effect on Age of Conan? Only time will tell.

Tomorrow I will pull together my complete system listings and show you how much each cost.

Stay tuned as it will be [bump] mappy...(ARGH...end jokes /now)


Jayedub said...

5870, awesome!

Scott said...

Did you stay in the same trouble hot spot and play with various options to see which ones caused the biggest performance hit?

Tempest of News said...

Yup....and guess what...not much changed.

I plan to use that "forbidden" spot for a bit (there are several others...all looking over huge distances btw....)
Of note...the Nvidia card did NOT suffer as much here, and it is considerably less powerful than the 4890 (GTX 260)...

So, yea, this series is really going to go over a lot of stuff down the road...

Should be interesting.