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Alan Wake: PC Performance Benchmarks for Graphics Cards and Processors

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Genre : Action (Survival horror) / 3D / 3rd Person
Year of release : 2012
Developer : Remedy Entertainment
Publisher : Microsoft

aw sys

Alan Wake is a 2010 console game exclusively for the Xbox 360 developed by the Finnish company Remedy. The PC version of the game was released in early 2012 (February 16 on Steam). The developers define the genre of the game as "psychological action thriller". Microsoft Game Studios is the publisher of the game. The project is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and went on sale on May 14, 2010. The game in Russia, in Russian, is published by SoftClub.

Alan Wake's character is modeled after Ilkki Willi, a Finnish actor and writer.

 Review: Playability (by Lexington  )

The history of the creation of Alan Wake begins back in 2005. Initially, it was supposed to be released on the xbox 360 and on a PC running Windows Vista to demonstrate the capabilities of DirectX 10. But years passed, the developers were stubbornly silent, and only starting in 2008 did at least some information begin to appear about the game. In 2009, all PC owners were in for a disappointment - the personal version of the game was frozen, and Alan Wake acquired the xbox 360 status - an exclusive. The release of the game on the Microsoft console took place in March 2010. The PC version has been talked about again quite recently, and now, 2 years after the release on the console, Alan Wake is coming to the PC. PC owners will be rewarded for waiting with the soundtrack from the game and 2 DLC previously released on the Xbox Live network.

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Alan Wake is a gripping mystery thriller about a writer in writer's block who, thanks to the persuasion of his wife, goes to rest in a paradise called Bright Falls, somewhere in the northwestern United States. It all starts with the mystical disappearance of Alan's wife, or rather in a week - when Alan wakes up in his broken car hanging on the edge of a cliff. As you progress, our protagonist will find pages of his not yet written manuscript, which in a strange way will predict events that are yet to happen. You will meet almost all the key characters at the very beginning of the game. There are few of them, but each of them has its own character and is immediately remembered, and all of them, one way or another, will play their important role in the history of Alan. The story told in the game follows the tradition of such masters of the genre as Stephen King and Howard Lovecraft. Throughout the entire storyline, you will be haunted by a sense of hopelessness and doom, and even the finale will leave many more questions than it will answer.

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The game's narrative is organized like a television series, with each episode beginning with a short backstory and ending with credits. Gameplay in the game can be divided into 2 levels: day and night. Day sections are not combat. In them, most often you will communicate with characters, reveal more and more secrets of a small town. And also to travel through the most beautiful landscapes of the reserved paradise corner of North America. While the night sections will be an action game, the tactics in which will be tied to the use of light sources. Now you will have to count not only cartridges for weapons, but also batteries for a flashlight. 

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Separately, I would like to note the excellent soundtrack. Thanks to the original compositions written specifically for the game, a unique atmosphere of a psychological thriller is created. And licensed compositions fit perfectly into the overall concept of the game. Several songs were specially written for the game by the Finnish band Poets of the Fall (under the pseudonym Old gods of Asgard) and played a rather large role in the development of the plot.

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Alan Wake is a pretty unique game of its kind. By similarity, we can recall, perhaps, only one game: Alone in the dark, released in 2008. The game tells a unique and exciting story and offers unique gameplay. Alan Wake is a game that does not make any revolutions in the genre but remains in our hearts for many years as an example of true gaming art, as an example of the fact that games are not only entertainment for children, but also quite serious and adult works of art.  

 Overview: Graphics

The limited video memory of the XboX 360 console that originally released Alan Wake prevented the authors from using high resolution textures in the game. And since there are no such problems on computers, many players wondered: will Remedy improve the quality and increase the resolution of textures in the PC version of the game?

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As it turned out, the team did some work on improving the textures, but you should not expect a full set of HD quality from the PC version. The game supports high resolution, including FullHD 1080p and even higher. And as you can see in our test, the game works fine with a single-display configuration up to 2560x1600, but there are some problems with a multi-monitor configuration at a resolution of 5760x1200...

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Alan Wake on PC is almost identical to  the XboX 360  version . If you're wondering why Remedy uses the same material as the original game, it's very simple. Alan Wake contains 6991 textures, and most of them have never been created in high resolution. So for such a significant processing would take too much time.

But even the work that was done is simply amazing - in the end we get clarity and transparency instead of a foggy and not blurred picture.

Game screenshots in various graphics modes
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AlanWake sr 
 AlanWake vs

The game has a fairly large arsenal of graphic settings, as for a thoroughbred console port. We can flexibly change the settings depending on the system configuration. So almost all modern PC players will be able to join the high-profile Xbox360 exclusive without any problems. Well, then we go directly to the process of testing the game itself.

 Review: Game resource intensive 

All video cards were tested at maximum graphics quality by MSI Afterburner. The purpose of the test is to determine how video cards from different manufacturers behave under the same conditions. The minimum and average value of frames is taken as a performance indicator. Below is the configuration of our test systems.

Test configuration

test stands

Testbed #1 based on the Intel Socket 1155 platform

Test stand #2 based on the Intel Socket 1366 platform

Test Bench #3 Based on the AMD Soket AM2 Platform

Test Bench #4 Based on AMD Socket AM3 Platform

Test Bench #5 Based on AMD Socket AM3 Platform

Test Bench #6 Based on AMD Socket AM3 Platform

Benchmark #7 based on the Intel Socket 1155 platform

multimedia equipment

3D monitor LG W2363D

Monitor LG E2750

Dell U3010 monitor product provided by  AMD

3D Vision Kit  product provided by  Nvidia

Software configuration

operating system

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64 SP1

Graphics driver

Nvidia GeForce/ION Driver Release 295.51

AMD Catalyst 12.1


Monitoring program

MSI Afterburner v 2.2.0 beta 11


Our video cards were tested at resolutions of 1680x1050, 1920x1080 and 2560x1600 at the maximum graphics quality settings allowed by the game. NVIDIA 3D Vision technology was not tested due to raw beta drivers, AMD Eyefinity was not able to work properly with us. The efficiency of SLI is zero, but Cross Fire generally goes into the red...

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Testing at  medium  quality settings 1680x1050

AW m 1680

At a resolution of 1680x1050 at medium settings, all tested video cards showed the minimum performance level. The best solutions would be the Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTX 460SE.

Testing at  medium  quality settings 1920x1080

aw m 1920

At a resolution of 1920x1080 at medium settings, again, all our tested video cards showed the minimum level of performance. The best solutions would be the Radeon HD 6790 or GeForce GTX 460.

Testing at medium quality settings 2560x1600 

AW m 2560

At a resolution of 2560x1600, at medium quality settings, video cards of the Radeon HD 6790 or GeForce GTX 560 level will show the minimum acceptable performance level. Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 570 will be the best solutions.

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Testing at maximum quality settings 1680x1050 

AW vh 1680

At a resolution of 1680x1050 at maximum quality settings, video cards of the Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTX 465 level showed the minimum performance level. The optimal solutions would be the Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 570.

Testing at maximum quality settings 1920x1080 

AW vh 1920

At a resolution of 1920x1080 at maximum settings, video cards of the Radeon HD 6970 or GeForce GTX 460 level showed the minimum performance level. The optimal solutions for these settings would be the Radeon HD 6950 or GeForce GTX 580.

Testing at maximum quality settings 2560x1600 

 AW vh 2560

At a resolution of 2560x1600 at maximum settings, video cards of the Radeon HD 6950 or GeForce GTX 580 level showed the minimum performance level. There are no optimal solutions for these settings yet...

As we can see from the above tests, the game prefers AMD cards. Unfortunately, the Radeon HD 7970 does not participate in the tests at the moment due to the limited use of this sample. In our tests, it will be presented a little later.

Processor dependency testing

We tested processor dependence on 11 models of basic configurations that are relevant today. The test was carried out in those places where the value of the video card for the game is minimal and its load was less than 99%, this time at a resolution of 1024x768 with the minimum graphics quality settings.

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Testing at minimum quality settings 1024x768


None of our tested processors experienced performance issues with this game. So for a comfortable game, any available mid-range dual-core model is suitable.

Updated   SLI and Cross Fire benchmarks

After the frequent release of games, optimization has to be finalized, and sometimes in a very short time. Almost on the day of the release of the game, AMD released a driver update for playing Alan Wake called  Catalyst Profiles 12.1 CAP 3 . But NVIDIA fans themselves have reached the point of increasing the performance of SLI systems - using the NVIDIA Inspector program, we add our Alan Wake application to the FEAR 2: Project Origin profile. Below we have given graphs of performance gain as a result of these manipulations.

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Testing at maximum quality settings 1920x1080 

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Testing at maximum quality settings 2560x1600 

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As we can see, there is progress. Modern dual-chip devices have shown excellent performance at today's ultra-high resolutions, getting a great performance boost. As a result,  the Radeon HD 6990 has become the fastest graphics solution for a comfortable game of Alan Wake today.