Tom Clancy's HAWX: Benchmark review with 12 graphics cards
What graphics card is required to display Tom Clancy's HAWX fluidly? We tested the performance of twelve graphics cards in DX9 and DX10 mode.
Tom Clancy's HAWX: Introduction
In HAWX the player is flying with lots of different fighter jets and participates in fast paced dogfights in the sky over Rio. Besides other fighters there are also targets on the ground like tanks or amphibious vehicles. In DirectX 10 and with features like HQ Shadows Maps, Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), God Rays and Soft Particles the visualization is really good. Due to the cooperation with the company Geo-Eyes, who provided high resolution images of the terrain, the ground textures in HAWX are quite convincing. In our comparison between DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 you can get an impression of the visualization of the action flight sim.
Tom Clancy's HAWX: Test system and benchmark
For this graphics cards benchmark review we used a system based on Intel's Core i7. Due to an i7-920 overclocked to 3.5 GHz, 6 GiByte DDR3-1400 RAM and a Intel X58 board we are able to stress high-end graphics cards to their limits without restrictions by the other components. As the graphics drivers are regarded we asked AMD and Nvidia which driver would be best for HAWX. While AMD suggested the Catalyst 9.2, Nvidia send us a version of the Geforce 182.08 with an appropriate SLI profile.
The demo version of Tom Clancy's HAWX offers a two-part performance test in the graphics options. We take the average of two runs of the second part that is recorded with Fraps. In the gallery you can find screenshots with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 at maximal details, 16:1AF and 24x ED-CFAA inclusive HQ-AAA.
Tom Clancy's HAWX: Benchmarks and Conclusion
The DX9 consol graphics of HAWX isn't very challenging and thus you can receive more than 50 fps with an HD 3850/256. Even with 4x MSAA and 16:1 AF (not in the benchmark charts) more than 30 fps are possible. But if you run the game in the visually better DX10 mode the framerate is halved by SSAO and Co. - a similar behavior can be recognized in Burnout Paradise. With those settings you need a Geforce 8800 GT/512 or a Radeon HD 4830/512 for smooth dogfights. If you activate 4x MSAA and 16:1 AF HAWX in addition, becomes a challenge even to high-end cards: Only a GTX 285 or Radeon HD 4870 X2 deliver enough power for more than 30 fps, while all the other cards are taken down.
Conculsion: Windows XP users don't have to worry about performance and as a Vista user you can take off with an 8800 GT. But for best possible graphics you need a high-end card though.