Mass Effect (PC): Tuning guide - graphics options compared
Some days ago we presented our PCGH Performance Review of Mass Effect. Today we compare the effects the different switches in the graphics options have.
Mass Effect (PC) uses Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Therefore the game isn't very hardware hungry and there aren't many options to alter the graphics. Besides deactivating the shadows it is possible to reduce the amount of particles and texture resolution.
Official system requirements: Mass Effect (PC)
12 GiByte of free space on the hard drive is a must have. The other requirements read as followed:
- CPU: 2.4 or more GHz Intel or 2.0 GHz or more with AMD
- memory: 1 GiByte with XP, 2 GiByte with Vista
- graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 6800 GT (or better) or AMD X1300 XT (or better)
- sound card: DirectX 9.0c compatible soundcard
- CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel or 2.4 GHz AMD
- memory: 2 GiByte
- graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 7900 GTX (or better) or AMD X1800 XL (or better)
- sound card: DirectX 9.0c compatible soundcard and 5.1 sound
Test system & benchmarks: Mass Effect (PC)
PCGH used a middle-class system to check the effects of the switches in the graphics option menu. Among an Intel E6320 and 2,048 MiByte DDR2-800 memory we chose a HD 3850. Our benchmark scene features a typical combat sequence between the player's party and some aliens.
Settings: Mass Effect (PC)
Reducing the particles and not using the motion blur deliver a performance boost of about 10 percent. Without shadows Mass Effect is running only slightly better but looses a great deal of atmosphere. Reducing the resolution is not recommendable because the insufficient increased performance doesn't make up for the bad optics. Changing the texture details is a no-go - the game looks just ugly with a minimal texture resolution.
You can find a comparison of max and min details in 2,560x1,600 below. If you choose medium you won't see big differences to maximum settings. Accordingly the performances don't vary very much.
Conclusion: Mass Effect (PC)
The official system requirements of Bioware are quite usable. A fast dual core CPU is necessary but a middle-class graphics card is enough. Who doesn't want to give up dynamic shadows and better textures at 1,024x768 has to have a Radeon X1950 Pro or Geforce 7900 GTX at least.
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