Meet the Stars of Tomorrow

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In the logicalincrements guide, if you were to hover over the name of any tier, you will get a small description, along with a sample performance in some popular games.

Example: This is now what you will see when mousing over the “Entry” tier.

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Below is the same tier using the old rating system.

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The way we calculated the old performance ratings was based on the following table:

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We looked at the FPS across various common resolutions, and graded tier performance accordingly.

The old grading was quite lenient: A setup that could produce just 20 FPS at 1680×1050 would get a star. And the resolution only went up to 2560×1440, so the priciest tiers could easily get a full 5 stars for all games.

We are updating to a new system for our star rating, and it is going to be much, much harsher. For a start, we are replacing CoD:BO2, BF3 and Crysis 1 for CoD:Ghosts, BF4 and Crysis 3 respectively. While Ghosts does not have significantly higher graphics than BO2, BF4 and Crysis 3 are both much more demanding than their predecessors. We are also dropping the 1366×768 resolution, and adding 4K instead.

The new star chart looks like so:

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The gradient for the new system is smoother, which means that you will rarely get a case where going up by one tier would change the star rating by more than one star.

The combination of higher resolution, and newer games, means that even the $3k builds no longer max out all games, since that would mean getting 60+ FPS on Crysis 3 at 4K resolution, which requires 3 or 4 Titans. 3 or 4 Titans is beyond the realm of most mortals at the moment, so we expect that our current system will last for a while before we need to make it even harsher.

The effect of the changes per game is as follows:

LoL: Because it is an easy game to run on most hardware, LoL only lost about half a star on average.

Dota 2, WoW, CoD:Ghosts: Lost an average of one star each.

BF4: Lost about 1.5 stars. Even the priciest tiers only get 4 stars nows.

Crysis 3: The hardest hit game, lost an average of 2 stars.

For a simplified meaning of the new star rating:

0 stars: This setup cannot play this game well.

0.5 stars: This setup can play this game tolerably, on low settings and resolution

1-2 stars: This setup can play the game at 1600×900 resolution.

2-3 stars: This setup can play the game at 1920×1080 resolution.

3-4 stars: This setup can play the game at 2560×1440 resolution.

4-5 stars: This setup can play the game at 3840×2160 (4K) resolution.

Please note that the guide has 16 tiers. With 6 games at 4 different resolutions, that meant that we need nearly 400 different benchmarks. While we were able to find the majority of benchmarks stats needed, some were not available (example: Ghosts does not yet support 4K). If a specific benchmark was not available, we extrapolated from benchmarks of similar cards/settings.

Please feel free to give feedback on our choice of new games and new resolutions.

 

  • SanScat

    Just to clarify, these stars are based on performances at ultra settings, correct?

    • n

      i was wondering the same thing

      • Matthew Zehner

        I believe so, yes.

  • dieshire_

    Since I’m not a picky player and I just need something to run, would getting a ‘Modest’ Grade computer running at 800 x 640, how much higher would the rating go?

    • Matthew Zehner

      I am not exactly sure of your question, honestly. But running at a lower resolution will increase performance quite a bit over the 1600×900 monitors. However, the change and playability will vary depending on the game.

  • Angelo Perera

    So by saying it can play the game at 1600×900 resolution etc, does this mean at a locked 60fps, or just a playable 30fps or something? And just to confirm, these are all done at maxed out settings, correct?

    • Matthew Zehner

      The frame rates that we used are listed in the new chart! And yes – it is definitely done on maximum settings.

  • MittensKazotsky

    Are these numbers from the games on max settings in their respective resolutions?

    • Star rating is for High or Max settings, depending on reviewers. Mostly it’s maxed out except for extremely demanding features (e.g. Hairworks and stuff).

  • MittensKazotsky

    Are these numbers from the games on max settings in their respective resolutions?