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Counter-Strike Global Offensive Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Peter Krastev), 08/31/2012

CS reloaded. Over 10 years after the original, Global Offensive is a reboot of the successful multiplayer tactical shooter. Despite its age, the basic game idea is still very popular. The dusty Source Engine is both a curse and a blessing.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Artwork: Valve)

The Counter-Strike series spin-off will surely be discussed in great detail by its fan base. Is the visual update and the addition of a ton of features and game modes make Global Offensive the next step in evolution or is it just Valve trying to line their pockets? Certainly looks like we are talking about a rip-off as CS: GO costs 14 Euro (~$17) on Steam. This article focuses primarily on the technology and performance of different notebook graphics cards.

Description

Counter-Strike has conquered the hearts of so many gamers, not only because of its low hardware requirements, but also because of its team aspect and the tactical components. Thousands of players battle on the servers every day and some LAN parties are unthinkable without CS. Since the last part (CS: Source) has been out for a while, Valve saw that the time was right for a successor. Global Offensive is largely based on the same gaming principles and expands the multiplayer with a couple of new feature like the game modes ’Arms Race’ and ’Demolition’ (you automatically get a better weapon after a kill).

Many textures look blurred up close.
Many textures look blurred up close.
The weapons course is advisable for beginners.
The weapons course is advisable for beginners.
Counter-Strike was never popular among youth advocacy.
Counter-Strike was never popular among the youth.

In order not to fall easily in the heated online battles, beginners should first complete the ’Training camp’. The weapons handling, grenade use, and bomb placement are explained here. The ‘Single Player’ mode is right for those who want to try what they've learned. Global Offensive offers playing against bots whose level of difficulty can be adjusted in several steps. Those who feel ready to face a human player after the dry runs can enter a ’real’ server through the intuitive menus.

Planting a bomb still is one the key elements of the game.
Planting a bomb is still one the key elements of the game.
Global Offensive offers a lot of guns.
Global Offensive offers a lot of guns.
We are already familiar with a similar time course in Call of Duty.
We are already familiar with a similar time course in Call of Duty.

Benchmark

Benchmark route
The route for the benchmark

We had numerous reasons against an online benchmark. Since the threat of virtual death hangs on every second, the choice of an appropriate sequence would be quite hard and we did not want to ruin the round for other players. Due to the typical multi-player problems (lag influences the subjective game quality), we therefore preferred an offline skirmish with bots. At ’Harmless’ level, the AI hardy fights back.

The old mas shine in a new light.
The old maps shine in a new light.
There are many cover possibilities.
There are many possibilities for finding cover.
Money is the reward for success.
Money is the reward for success.

We tested one of the most played maps ’Dust II’. We begin the round as terrorists and more or less circle once around bomb sites A and B (see the screenshot and the video). The entire sequence takes about a minute and is recorded with the help of Fraps. During the run we wanted to ensure high comparability. Because of the less demanding technology, some fluctuations are inevitable.

Settings

Graphics options
Graphics options

The graphics options are typical for a PC game. In the video options one finds basic parameters such as resolution, aspect ratio, brightness and the size of the HUD (Head Up Display). The real thing is under the tab ’Advanced’. Not every title out there offers more than 10 different settings. Some options can ’only’ be turned on or off (Multicore-Rendering, FXAA, VSync & Motion Blur), while others can be adjusted at steps Very Low, Low, Medium, High and Very High. Among these are the shadow quality, the model, texture, effects and shader details as well as the ominous ’Paged Pool Memory’. The MSAA anti-aliasing reaches 8x and the anisotropic filtering about 16x which is something exemplary.

Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Low
Low

From a technical point of view, Global Offensive is unfortunately not outstanding. Despite the various improvements, the Source Engine seems rather outdated. In terms of polygon count and texture sharpness, the tactical shooter cannot compete with other FPSs like Max Payne 3Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2. Upon closer inspection, most wallpaper objects seem vague.

Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Low
Low

In comparison to CS: Source, this version is certainly an evident progress. Especially when it comes to atmosphere, Global Offensive takes a step forward. Thanks to the rich decorative objects, the levels now seem less dull. The successful lights and shadows help the ’Look and Feel’. Typical of Valve, there is attention for consistency of the look of the game. For next year though, we wish for a modern engine.

Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Low
Low

Results

The moderate hardware requirement is one of the strong points of CS: GO. Even with Intel's older HD Graphics 3000, multiplayer mode is possible depending on the resolution at lower or normal settings. Midrange GPUs such as the GeForce GT 630M manage higher details and 2x anti-aliasing without problems. For 1920x1080 pixels, 4x anti-aliasing and maximum details (incl. FXAA), you do not need a high-end GPU at all. These settings are possible with the GeForce GT 640M. For the latest enthusiast-level GPUs like the Radeon HD 7970M  and the GeForce GTX 680M, Counter Strike does not seem to pose a challenge.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Benchmark

Verdict

Valve seems to have optimized the technical framework perfectly. Global Offensive may not be visually exciting, but it scores points with its surprisingly low hardware requirements which come in handy mainly for weaker systems. The low price of 14 Euro is extremely fair and deserves some praise. 

Some maps are really idyllic.
Some maps are in idyllic settings.
The game has a great atmosphere.
The game has a great atmosphere.
Some level objects can be destroyed.
Some level objects can be destroyed.

Test Systems

Most of the devices come from Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M, GTX 680M & Radeon HD 7970M, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M & HD Graphics 4000, 8 GB RAM)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000, 8 GB RAM) 

The drivers used were versions: 304.79 Beta (Nvidia), 8.951.6.0 (AMD) and 8.15.10.2761 (Intel).

The Guild Wars 2 benchmark is planned for the end of August.

From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502

Overview

The chart below contains all previous benchmarks and will be expanded in the future.

Show Restrictions
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Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
 Counter-Strike: GO (2012)
low
1024x768
(Very) Low
med.
1366x768
Medium
high
1366x768
High
4xAF 2x MSAA
ultra
1920x1080
(Very) High, FXAA
8xAF 4x MSAA
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
272
 18AMD Radeon R9 Fury
268
 31AMD Radeon RX 480 (Desktop)
285
 43NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
263.4
261.9
257.3
 44AMD Radeon R9 290X
280
 48AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
186.1
159.7
127.8
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
249
238
228.5
 51NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
230
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
228
224
 62AMD Radeon HD 7970
251.1
233.8
212.6
212.2
 69NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Desktop)
250
 78NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
246.3
220.8
198.9
191.6
 80NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
261.2
243.4
227
190.72
 91AMD Radeon HD 8970M
261.3
238.3
219.7
148.12
 95NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
272.2
264.2
251.2
196.5
 97NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
230.8
194.7
169.3
128
 100AMD Radeon HD 7970M
228.8
200.1
178
121.452
 107NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
232.7
220.8
208.2
168
 118*AMD Radeon Pro 455
145
Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
lowmed.highultra
 119NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
261.8
244.2
224.5
150.9
 127NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
220.6
193.3
131
 128NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
205.1
182.4
163.4
 133NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
98.9
 139AMD Radeon HD 6870
189
 142NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
267.2
243.852
182.52
106.93
 150NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
208.3
167.9
153.8
102
 156AMD Radeon HD 7770
249.9
230.4
199
128.2
 157NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
246.9
218.7
199.7
138.7
 166AMD Radeon R9 M370X
265
218
159.3
103.4
 167NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
244.4
222.9
164.4
95.7
 169NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
230
171
98
 171NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
225.4
180.3
140.2
90.5
 177AMD Radeon HD 8870M
183.2
138.4
116.3
87.2
 190NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
226.5
189.7
142.2
88.5
 192AMD Radeon HD 8850M
101.9
78.1
 197AMD Radeon HD 8790M
149
116
73
 204NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
237.3
140.62
92.152
56.72
 207NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
182
156.8
107.2
57.9
 209NVIDIA GeForce 940M
168.1
141.1
112.6
68.1
Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
lowmed.highultra
 219NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
161.3
136.8
111.9
72.3
 221NVIDIA GeForce 840M
79.6
45.5
 222AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
47
 223NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
176.4
124.9
59.8
 228Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
240.4
181.3
88.4
51.9
 230NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
89.23
76.73
70.23
54.13
 233*Intel Iris Graphics 550
205.4
172.5
112.9
64.5
 241NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
231.2
165.4
112.3
63.4
 242NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
109
86
 244NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
149.7
113.252
77.252
32
 258NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
157
128
92
52
 259NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
204.7
158.3
103.8
58.2
 262AMD Radeon HD 8750M
135
100.6
82.3
53.5
 269NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
129
99
84
49
 271AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
86.6
79.8
70.8
44.1
 275AMD Radeon R7 M360
88.9
87.3
65.8
43.8
 277*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
57.1
42.9
38
23.6
 280AMD Radeon R8 M445DX
82
77.8
71.7
50.3
 297AMD Radeon R5 (Stoney Ridge)
39.2
28.5
25
 298*Intel UHD Graphics 620
90
62.1
37.1
Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
lowmed.highultra
 299*Intel HD Graphics 620
166.3
112.8
70.5
42.7
 300AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
74.7
64
50.2
31.3
 314AMD Radeon HD 8730M
142.4
105.2
83.4
48.8
 316NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M
166.9
117.2
81.6
35.9
 333AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
132.3
94.7
65.5
 334AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
48.1
43.7
37.3
30.8
 336AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
101.1
81.5
56.7
 339AMD Radeon HD 7660D
54
 357AMD Radeon HD 8650G
46.8
42.2
36
42
 360AMD Radeon HD 7520G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
70.6
57.1
50.8
43.9
 361AMD Radeon HD 7670M
139.652
96.92
752
45.752
 362NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
139.23
97.93
65.63
35.43
 363AMD Radeon HD 7560D
79
45
 365AMD Radeon R5 M335
108.7
68.1
48.3
26.4
 366AMD Radeon R5 M330
125
73.3
50.3
 370NVIDIA GeForce 910M
39.1
36.3
34.2
29.7
 371NVIDIA GeForce 820M
135
105.8
78.7
 372Intel HD Graphics 520
115.13
76.93
56.43
29.93
 373Intel Iris Graphics 6100
112.5
81.2
63
32.8
 374NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
107.2
88.2
56.8
Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
lowmed.highultra
 383AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
43.1
33.2
26.6
 387AMD Radeon HD 8550M
38.7
33.6
29.4
 388Intel Iris Graphics 5100
144.9
80.1
51.7
30.8
 393Intel HD Graphics 4600
186.9
99.2
52.252
27.152
 395Intel HD Graphics 5500
713
51.33
36.23
19.73
 399*Intel HD Graphics 615
99.9
57.3
39.5
21.9
 405AMD Radeon HD 7660G
58
39
 421ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
101.6
87
70.1
39.1
 424AMD Radeon HD 8550G
39
 431AMD Radeon HD 7610M
176
99
70
38
 440Intel HD Graphics 515
76.7
57.3
35.1
20.2
 441Intel HD Graphics 4400
903
563
413
 445AMD Radeon HD 7550M
133.3
75
56.9
 453AMD Radeon HD 7600G
48
31.8
24.8
 471Intel HD Graphics 5300
623
49.73
25.13
19.83
 472*Intel HD Graphics 505
35.852
30.952
21.2
 480AMD Radeon HD 7480D
82
73
50
27.1
 481Intel HD Graphics 4000
78.156
46.86
26.76
20.93
 485*AMD Radeon R4 (Kaveri)
27.9
19.8
16.7
13.2
 486*Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell)
43.7
31.5
23.9
Pos      Model                                     Counter-Strike: GO
lowmed.highultra
 487*Intel HD Graphics 500
14
 489AMD Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L)
35.4
35.3
27.6
 490AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
48.3
42.2
30.6
21.5
 492Intel HD Graphics 4200
70.7
35.5
18.9
12.5
 494AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
134.3
81.2
54.1
29.4
 501AMD Radeon HD 8450G
45
33.5
26.4
33
 505AMD Radeon HD 8400