Starcraft 2 Multiplayer GPU Performance Analysis

Test Setup

Test Setup

To set the ground rules, we're concerned with how the GPU would behave in multiplayer mode where there's much more units to handle than in a single-player campaign mode. To measure performance in Starcraft 2, we’ll be playing a replay of a 4v4 match in Ultra quality setting and recording its frame rate using FRAPS. The 4v4 replay features an intense face-off involving many units, which will tax the system sufficiently to let us have a good idea of how each graphics card will handle Starcraft 2. Such a setup should probably give you an idea of the worst-case scenario that your system should be prepared for if you indeed want to ensure the smoothest game play at the best settings possible at all times.

The game doesn’t support anti-aliasing, but you can force it on the driver level with both NVIDIA and ATI cards. Previously, ATI didn’t support anti-aliasing for Starcraft 2 at all, but it got recently implemented it in their Catalyst 10.7a driver suite.

Here are the specifications of our testbed and also the list of graphics cards tested and the driver versions used:

  • Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
  • 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 OCZ memory in triple-channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

From ATI:

  • Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.7a)
  • Radeon HD 5850 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.7a)
  • Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.7a)
  • Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.7a)


  • GeForce GTX 480 1536MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 258.96)
  • GeForce GTX 470 1280MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 258.96)
  • GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 258.96)
  • GeForce GTX 260+ 896MB GDDR3 (ForceWare 258.96)
  • GeForce GTS 250 1GB GDDR3 (ForceWare 258.96)


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