Notebookcheck

Dirt Showdown Benchmarked

Florian Glaser, 05/26/2012

Dirtier than ever. With Dirt Showdown the race game expert Codemasters follows in the footsteps of the action-packed Flatout series. Traditional rallies are passé for now. The developer focuses on flashy demolition derbies. Find out if the track also pushes mobile graphics cards to their limits.

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Dirt Showdown (Artwork: Codemasters)

In the past, particular focus was placed on the rally aspect in the Dirt series. Thanks to the successful mixture of arcade and simulation not only action fans (Need for Speed, Burnout, etc.), but also fans of authenticity were fairly satisfied. Besides the car model and track design, especially the atmosphere and technology convinced.

Graphics

First-rate technology
First-rate technology

The same is true for the latest version. The screenshots show that Dirt Showdown offers outstanding graphics. Few rivals can present such clear textures, authentic reflections and fine shadows. The coherent light impressed us most – depending on the time of day, the levels shine in a different light. Sometimes you would just simply like to dive into the screen. The bundle is finished off with fastidious details such as cheering spectators.

Beyond that, the developer earns praise for the stylish menus that again make a quite complex impression, but whose design fits perfectly to the "destruction" motto.

The hardware requirements have increased a bit compared with Dirt 3. The latest episode occasionally runs noticeably slower when using the same hardware and settings.

Benchmarks

Cool menus
Cool menus

We use the limited demo version for our benchmarks that can be downloaded for free via the online platform Steam. Under "Showdown Tour" "Spy+ Pro" you will discover the 8-ball race that takes place in sunny San Francisco (8 ball refers to the layout).

We wait for booting and the intro video to finish and start recording with the tool Fraps when the user interface (position, health, etc.) appears. The benchmark is stopped on the finish line after exactly one round.

Settings

The graphics options are found in a clearly arranged menu. In addition to resolution, anti-aliasing (Codemasters relies on MSAA) and the screen mode, you can also modify the refresh rate and aspect ratio. To prevent annoying time lapses, VSync should also be enabled (the benchmarks were performed without VSync because of the fps limit). The detail level can be set automatically, manually or via five presets.

Great: Dirt Showdown accepts all modifications directly in a running game. Therefore, unlike other games, there is no need to restart or stop the race when altering the settings. Here are our four test settings:

Ultra setting: 1920 x 1080, ultra preset, 4x MSAA
Ultra setting: 1920 x 1080, ultra preset, 4x MSAA
High setting: 1366 x768, high preset, 2x MSAA
High setting: 1366 x768, high preset, 2x MSAA
Medium setting: 1366 x 768, medium preset
Medium setting: 1366 x 768, medium preset
Low setting: 1024 x 768, ultra low preset
Low setting: 1024 x 768, ultra low preset

As expected, the ultra and high presets do not differ much. With the exception of the coarser shadow (compare picture I and II), you cannot see any significant deviation even when looking closely. Texture quality, illumination and reflections are on a high standard.

Medium settings also look good. However, some objects at the sides (note the spectators in the third picture) do not cast a shadow. There are virtually no shadows or reflections in minimum graphics settings. The absence of spectators also has a negative impact on the atmosphere (picture IV).

Ultra
Ultra
High
High
Medium
Medium
Ultra Low
Ultra Low

Results

If you want to enjoy Dirt Showdown in its full beauty, you will have to fall back on a notebook with a high-end graphics card. Ultra details, 1920x1080 pixels and four-time anti-aliasing, are only properly displayed on a top model, such as the Radeon HD 6990M or GeForce GTX 675M. At least an upper midrange member (e.g. GeForce GT 640M) should be installed in the notebook for high details and two-time anti-aliasing.

Typical multimedia graphics cards on the level of a GeForce GT 630M can only display the medium preset smoothly in higher resolutions. In the meantime, minimum settings are also properly processed by integrated GPUs, such as the HD Graphics 3000 (only applies for low resolutions).

If we rule out the ultra preset, the processor has a surprising amount of impact in Dirt Showdown. Our benchmark chart shows that notebooks with a weaker graphics card frequently overtake notebooks with a stronger GPU model – depending on the installed CPU.

Benchmark chart: Dirt Showdown
Benchmark chart: Dirt Showdown

Test Systems

Parts of the results originate from Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GTX 560M, GTX 580M, Radeon HD 6970M & HD 6990M, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG A501 (Core i7-2630QM, HD Graphics 3000 & GeForce GT 555M, 8 GB RAM)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M, 4 GB RAM)

Many thanks for the great support!

From left to right: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P501
From left to right: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P501

In following, a list of all performed benchmarks:

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
 Dirt Showdown (2012)
low
1024x768
Ultra Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
high
1366x768
High Preset
2xMSAA
ultra
1920x1080
Ultra Preset
4xMSAA
 42NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
78.6
73.8
55.4
 47AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
92.2
88
87
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
85.3
88.8
50.9
 49AMD Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
92.5
87.5
84.2
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
102
77
75
75
 61AMD Radeon HD 7970
87.3
73.1
69.2
61.2
 74NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
103.1
95.1
90.5
77.9
 77NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
90.9
72.9
71.7
62.1
 79NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
112.9
87.8
88
663
 85AMD Radeon HD 7870
87.3
71.2
68.8
53.9
 86NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
98.1
90.6
65.9
 90AMD Radeon HD 8970M
115.1
85.3
59.252
44.62
 94NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
123.1
93.8
90.2
34.1
 96NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
101.1
81.3
75.52
53.43
 99AMD Radeon HD 7970M
97.7
81.1
78.3
48.73
 106NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX SLI
94.5
77
74.6
31.4
 118NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
109.9
85.3
84.9
45.2
 120NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
96.9
91.6
48.4
 126NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
80.3
84.5
39.4
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
lowmed.highultra
 127NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
101.3
67.1
23.4
 132NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
61.9
39
 138AMD Radeon HD 6870
42
 141NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
122
90.452
81.63
33.63
 145NVIDIA Quadro K4000M
89
81
78
34
 148ATI Radeon HD 5850
85.8
75.6
74.4
42.7
 149NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
115.61
93.01
82.7
34.02
 150NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M
79.6
62.6
61.4
34.3
 151AMD Radeon HD 6990M
81.4
62.7
60.1
35.7
 155AMD Radeon HD 7770
94
71
67.9
33.2
 156NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M SLI
104.7
74.052
51.352
19.22
 163NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
89
34
 166NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
93.7
73.3
76.12
31.62
 168NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
81.352
55.252
50.92
30.1
 170NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
101
77
73.22
29.42
 174AMD Radeon HD 6970M
76.6
64.2
59.5
30.3
 176AMD Radeon HD 8870M
72.92
47.22
37.42
24.52
 178NVIDIA Quadro K3000M
96
84
73
23
 180AMD FirePro M6000
97
90
62
27
 181AMD FirePro M5100
107
94
78
27
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
lowmed.highultra
 182NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
96
92
56
23
 188NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
74.3
62.5
57.8
25.8
 189NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
81.552
65.82
50.74
23.43
 191AMD Radeon HD 8850M
70
46.7
31.9
 193AMD Radeon R9 M265X
92.9
74.5
68.9
21.8
 196AMD Radeon HD 8790M
82
47
27
19
 203NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
108.2
81.8
59
21.2
 207NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
97
78
49
15
 218NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
917
61.058
53.911
18.1510
 219NVIDIA Quadro K620M
98
75
52
17
 222NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
90.652
69.72
51.32
19.7
 224NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M
67.8
63
60.5
23
 229NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
64.35
48.85
32.95
17.93
 239NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
992
77.552
40.252
16.752
 242NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
57.5
40.9
14.8
 246AMD FirePro M4000
82
51
40
19
 256NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
51
32.4
19.7
 257NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
74.62
53.63
39.63
17.2
 260AMD Radeon HD 8750M
71.3
44.3
35.1
15.9
 267NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
753
43.83
393
15.62
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
lowmed.highultra
 271AMD Radeon HD 7730M
74
45
33
15
 309NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE
73.8
55.1
36.1
13.4
 312AMD Radeon HD 8730M
55.2
37.5
33
14.8
 315NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M
66.6
61.4
37.1
12.9
 331AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
51
33
29.3
 334AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
42.1
28.7
25.8
 335AMD Radeon HD 8670M
62
35
22
9
 339NVIDIA Quadro K1000M
92
54
33
10
 356AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
35.82
26.7
25.5
 357*AMD Radeon HD 6620G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
41
30.5
29.6
 358AMD Radeon HD 7520G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
29.6
18.7
16.4
9.3
 359AMD Radeon HD 7670M
60.354
41.14
29.64
11.92
 360NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
76.65
49.156
30.556
123
 369NVIDIA GeForce 820M
48
31.6
27.6
 372NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
38
31.6
22
 381AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
19.9
11.7
 382AMD Radeon HD 8570M
59.4
29.4
13.6
7
 383Intel HD Graphics 6000
57
36
23
10
 384NVIDIA Quadro K610M
76
48
32
9
 385AMD Radeon HD 8550M
16.5
11.5
10.4
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
lowmed.highultra
 391Intel HD Graphics 4600
49.9
26.6
 393Intel HD Graphics 5500
51.4
30
21.9
 401NVIDIA NVS 5400M
80.52
56.052
33.62
12
 403AMD Radeon HD 7660G
41
27
25
9.9
 414AMD Radeon HD 7650M
58.8
38
32.9
 415AMD FirePro M2000
88
11
 416AMD Radeon HD 7570M
57
38
16
 419ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
55.2
40.2
30.3
10.4
 425NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M
48.552
33.12
25.32
 428AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7610M Dual Graphics
35.4
25.2
22.6
 432AMD Radeon HD 7640G
30.2
 439Intel HD Graphics 4400
41.052
24.82
17
5
 443AMD Radeon HD 7550M
65.4
39.6
25.9
 479Intel HD Graphics 4000
52.656
27.86
17.25
65
 488AMD Radeon R4 (Beema)
29.2
21.1
16.4
 490Intel HD Graphics 4200
34.5
18.9
12.6
4.9
 492AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5
742
32.52
222
6.52
 499AMD Radeon HD 8450G
25
14.7
 506AMD Radeon HD 7520G
27.3
15.7
13.3
 516AMD Radeon HD 8330
27.7
20.7
16.2
Pos      Model                                     Dirt Showdown
lowmed.highultra
 519AMD Radeon R3 (Mullins/Beema)
31.2
21.3
17
 548Intel HD Graphics (Haswell)
31
18.8
11.7
 580AMD Radeon HD 8250
15.9
12.6
11.5
 587Intel HD Graphics 3000
31.15
17.25
9.55
 590NVIDIA GeForce G210M
32
20
10
 609Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge)
35.652
13.352
 643*Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
27
13.4
8.6
5
 649Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
28
 701Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
9