Need for Speed Shift ATI performance issues explained – sort of


UPDATE: Most of these issues seem finally to  be fixed in the 1.02 patch for the game.  Get it here

I looked forward to playing the new installment of the Need For Speed series – The new game Shift looked like a fun cross-breed between sim and arcade.

However, Shift is performing very poorly on most ATI cards, while it is flying fine on nVidia boards.

After looking into the issue, I found the following statement from ATI, regarding Shift, in a hardcop review of a new 5000-series ATI card:

In another TWIMTBP* title, we submitted a list of issues that we discovered during the games’ development. These issues include inefficiencies in how the game engine worked with our hardware in addition to real bugs, etc.. We have sent this list to the developer for review.

Unfortunately you will be unable to get a fair assessment of our hardware’s performance on this software until the developer releases a patch to address and fix our reported issues.”

So, apparently it’s a problem with the game engine, and the developers need to address this, no driver updates from ATI can really help the situation.

We’ll just have to wait I guess… And play GRID instead, at least Codemasters seem to know what they are doing. Sloppy work from Slightly Mad Studios to release the game with this issue, I mean they must have tested the game on ATI cards during the development process…

*

The Way It’s Meant To Be Played (TWIMTBP) is a program that helps game developers to optimize and incorporate exclusive features in their games and applications exclusively for NVIDIA’s video cards. The deal also adds a splash screen to “the way it’s meant to be played” games as well as branding within the game; this is widely considered as a promotion campaign for NVIDIA. This program was launched 2003 by NVIDIA, a video card producer. The program aims at providing the best experience possible for users of NVIDIA GeForce video cards, and more particularly provides extensive guidelines on game performance optimizations for the GeForce video cards.” Wiki quote’

However, this whole thing is just rediculous, as a prefessional game-house like EA you cannot release beta software that hasn’t been tested and optimized to work okay on the types of hardware you include in your requirements list. At this time the requierement should read. “BETA SOFTWARE: Nvidia graphics card needed. Not compatible with ATI-cards.”

This is just completely unacceptable behaviour towards the customer. I’ve seen alpha buids that have been more polished and optimized than this!

Now let the science commence.

I realized that my GPU usage was tied directly to my fps. And the GPU usage went down when I had other cars visible on screen. Why?

The CPU usage stayed the same regardless of this trend and it stays around 60-70%. The following graphs clearly show the link between GPU usage (TOP) and FPS (Middle):

HardwareMonitoring.bmp

Is this right? I mean shouldn’t the GPU constantly be working, especially with more cars on the track? Is it waiting for data from the CPU? If so why do i have a 30% Idle Process on the CPU in that case? Shouldn’t it be working it’s butt off to feed the GPU?

System: Core2 duo E2160@ stock –  ATI 3 850HD 720/1000 MHz –  2Gig DDR2  – XP Professional Catalyst 9.9

Check out the ATI forums http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=279&threadid=118976&enterthread=y

Allegedly we have a commment from Ian Bell, Game deveveloper of NFS:Shift

“We’ve worked hard to add additional optimisations for ATI cards with success. This will be coming in a future patch.”  -I have no vaildated source for this

and here is an audio interview with Electronic Arts Europe VP Patrick Soderlund that discusses some of these issues.

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12 thoughts on “Need for Speed Shift ATI performance issues explained – sort of

  1. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info.And this is bookmarkth.com site. It pretty much covers DoFollow Social Bookmark related stuff.

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  2. Yeah agree since Im also having lack of performance with my ATI.

    One thing though, dont say “We’ll just have to wait I guess… And play GRID instead”!

    GRID and Shift has nothing to do with eachother! GRID has poor textures and many post process effects but the physics are arcade and hilarious to drive!

    Shift has great textures, best cockpits on the market and the physics are WAY better even if they need some good tweaks and patches ^^

  3. Yes, i tried it, unfortunately not a magic fix. Since the codemasters engine probably is completely different from the Shift engine I don’t think triggering optimizations for grid would help much.

  4. Sim Lover :

    Yeah agree since Im also having lack of performance with my ATI.

    One thing though, dont say “We’ll just have to wait I guess… And play GRID instead”!

    GRID and Shift has nothing to do with eachother! GRID has poor textures and many post process effects but the physics are arcade and hilarious to drive!

    Shift has great textures, best cockpits on the market and the physics are WAY better even if they need some good tweaks and patches ^^

    Yes, well they do have something to do with eachother, they are both driving games and until we can get shift sorted out I’m going to play Grid 🙂

  5. Hi, if you want to digg deeper into this topic then I suggest use Windows’ Performance Monitor to plot the “Page Writes/s” from the memory category.
    Whenever there are hickups in the game, the page writes goes up.
    I overlayed the the fraps frame rate (blue) over the performance manager output: http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~felixk/pagewrites.png

  6. Pingback: » Need For Speed: Shift (X360 & PS3) @ GH - Page 3
  7. Pingback: Intel graphics drivers employ questionable 3DMark Vantage optimizations - DriverHeaven.net
  8. Nice blog, i like it, its informative,
    i will visit his blog more often.
    i like your topic, specially about
    Need for Speed Shift ATI performance issues explained – sort of

    Cheers

  9. Its not worth getting a graphics card that is sort of inferior to current ones although they support physx games. Only a handfull of games use physx. I have a HIS Radeon 5670 and it works great so far. It runs Grid, and all older games, nothing to brag about. When i realized that Shift needed physx, i downloaded the latest physx after trying older versions and Shift is working perfectly on high settings. Attention needs to be paid to overheating in poorly cooled cases.

  10. – I can’t believe this idiotic marketing – none of the NFS games run properly on my Mobility HD 4570 – yet they manage to fix SHIFT for it – with patch 1.02 (even that it’s a mobile card)

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