For those unfamiliar with the Deus Ex franchise, it goes back to the year 2000 when highly hyped developer Ion Storm went on to develop a System Shock-inspired action game that combined gameplay elements of first-person shooters and role-playing games.

Deus Ex received immediate notoriety and was highly regarded, selling over 1 million copies worldwide. Given the game's success, the title was later ported to the PS2 and Mac OS platforms. A sequel called Deus Ex: Invisible War was released in 2003, however the second installment was criticized for being a dumbed down version of the original. Regardless of that, over 1 million copies were sold again, making it difficult to deny the franchise's success, which represented one of the few big wins for Ion Storm before the studio was shut down.

After many years of waiting the third installment of the Deus Ex series has finally arrived. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is a prequel to the original game, now developed by Eidos Montreal. Like previous titles, Human Revolution contains elements of first-person shooters and role-playing games, and to gamers' pleasure it appears the game is every bit as good as its predecessors.


In other good news, we could very well have a new game capable of fully utilizing the power and features of today's high-end graphics cards. Such games have become increasingly rare and with the exception of just a select few, most of the games we have run performance tests on this year have been shameful console ports that would struggle to max out a tablet PC.

Games such as Duke Nukem Forever and Crysis 2 were massive letdowns, while the only game that has truly impressed us recently was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and that particular title was exclusive to the PC.

So what does Deus Ex: Human Revolution have to offer hardcore gamers? The game is said to fully implement DirectX 11 as well as other cutting edge features such FXAA, MLAA, HD3D and full support for multi-monitor AMD Eyefinity technology (up to six monitors).


The DX11 support brings about tessellation, which the developer has said was mainly used to enhance character silhouettes. Other DX11 features used includes DirectCompute enhanced Depth of Field, Blurs as well as Shader and Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion.

The developer also claimed to have significantly rewritten the game engine to take advantage of multi-core processors. Eidos went on record saying that a dual-core setup can provide up to a 70% increase in performance. As usual we'll be looking at how the game performs with a range of GPUs and how it deals with dual, quad and hexa-core processors.

2560x1600 - Gaming Performance

At the extreme single display resolution of 2560x1600 Deus Ex: Human Revolution was too much to handle for a majority of single-GPU configurations. This was made evident by the Radeon HD 6970 which rendered just 49fps, while the GeForce GTX 580 managed 46fps. We still found that both were able to deliver playable performance, though there were brief moments of lag every now and then.

Enabling Crossfire or SLI significantly improved performance as we saw the GeForce GTX 590 delivering 75fps and the Radeon HD 6990 scoring 79fps. The GeForce GTX 580 SLI cards took the victory with a whopping 94fps.

CPU Scaling and Performance

Using the Windows Task Manager we can see that Deus Ex: Human Revolution heavily utilizes two cores of our Phenom II X6 1100T processor while the other four are working at around 20-40% capacity. Please ignore the 6% CPU usage indicator as it dropped down from around 50% once I hit ALT+TAB out of the game to grab that screenshot.

The Resource Monitor was used keep an eye on the average CPU usage of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and here it is reporting an average of 45.5% across the six cores. This is going to cause some real issues for dual-core processors.

Overclocking your Core i7 processor is not going to help deliver more performance in Deus Ex: Human Revolution with a single GeForce GTX 580 card. With the Core i7 clocked at 2.0GHz the GTX 580 averaged 73fps. Meanwhile a 90% increase in clock speed for the Core i7 allowed for just a 5% increase in frame rates.

Processors that only support 2-threads do not appear fit to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution as our Phenom II X2 560 delivered just 44fps. This meant that the Phenom II X2 560 is about 43% slower than a similarly clocked Phenom II X4 processor.


The Athlon II processors are also pretty useless without their L3 cache as the quad-core Athlon II X4 645 averaged just 51fps. The new AMD A6-Series and A8-Series processors did quite well delivering 67fps and 71fps respectively.

The older Core i5-750 and Core i7-920 processors performed well with 72 and 73fps a piece. The Phenom II X4 980 was surprisingly fast with an average frame rate of 79fps making it only slightly slower than the Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K processors.

Article Index

Testing Notes & Methodology
1680x1050 - Gaming Performance
1920x1200 - Gaming Performance
MLAA vs. FXAA Performance
Final Thoughts

Republished with permission.

Steven Walton is a writer at TechSpot. TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.