Resident Evil 5 can be played in DirectX 9 or DirectX 10 and for the purposes of this review I benchmarked it in DirectX 10. I used the game’s included Variable Benchmark which involves an AI controlled Chris and Sheva killing enemies and progressing through three different scenes. The Variable Benchmark really does live up to its name because even though Chris will travel a set path; he is surrounded by so many enemies he ends up shooting and attacking differently every time.
Here are the settings we used in my testing of Resident Evil 5:
I am not sure how to explain why the maximum frame rates for each setup are so high. Something like this could happen if there was a cut scene or loading screen during the benchmark, but nothing like that occurred during the benchmark. The game was pretty playable until 3D Vision was enabled. If you want to play Resident Evil 5 in 3D you will probably need to reduce some settings in order to keep the game playable.
Max Payne 3 is the latest iteration in one of my favorite game series and even though it is very different from the previous games, it is still very fun. The game is a very guided experience. You enter a sequence and you need to shoot your way through to the next scene. There are clues and golden guns that you can find, but it feels wrong to shoot way through some guys, then search around for them. Max even says some things to encourage you to keep moving.
Here are the settings we used in Max Payne 3:
We did not turn on 3D Vision in Max Payne 3 because it is not fully supported yet. Even though 18 FPS might not seem like enough, the game was very playable. The overclock made it even better of course.
For those looking to spend only $100, I think the GT 640 is a good way to get the features offered by the GeForce 600 series. This card is power efficient, cool and quiet which means it would do well in a HTPC. The 1GB version this card is currently available at Best Buy, Micro Center and TigerDirect. UPDATE: The 2GB version is now available at TigerDirect.