I have to say first up before talking about the performance side of things, it's really quite funny to see a game start up and have a splash screen for AMD which is then followed by one for Intel. While we're sure the AMD one is more related to the video card side of things and the Intel one is for the CPU side, it's no less funny to see both companies' logos show up, all we needed was NVIDIA to show up and it would've been a trio of fun.
The first thing I have to talk about is the performance. It's great to see that the HD 5750 can perform in this game; it manages to break the 30 FPS minimum at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 with the high preset.
Since some companies have chosen to bundle the game with this mid-range model, there would've been nothing more annoying then downloading it through Steam and being slapped in the face with poor FPS on your new video card. Since the model is mainly aimed at the 1680 x 1050 gamers, you should be pretty happy with the performance you're able to get from the model in the latest DX11 title to hit our computer systems.
The HD 5770 comes in and picks up where the HD 5750 left off; it gets a bit more breathing room in the runs mentioned above, while also being able to offer us a minimum above 30 FPS at the ultra preset at both resolutions as well. Since the model is more suited for 1920 x 1200 gamers, you're again going to find yourself happy with the way the video card performs under this resolution at the high and ultra preset.
The HD 5850 manages to come in and clean up the 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 setups without any problems. With this video card we're able to see that 2560 x 1600 is an option, which is great news since we consider this a bit of a heavy 1920 x 1200 to light 2560 x 1600 product. Since you're pretty much guaranteed to have a DiRT2 voucher in the box of your HD 5850, you're going to find yourself extremely happy with how the model runs at all resolutions with the Ultra preset also being an option at 2560 x 1600.
When it comes to the HD 5870 it simply improves upon the performance that the HD 5850 is offering, what this means is that we can play the game at all settings including 2560 x 1600 with the preset at ultra.
The HD 5970 is just the ultimate when it comes to performance though in the end, at 2560 x 1600 and our preset at Ultra, we've got a minimum of 55 FPS which is 30% better than what the HD 5870 offers. What this number gives us is an ultra smooth experience in the game.
What's so great about the game from a performance perspective is that you can get some good numbers at a decent resolution with these mid-range models. What you would be worried about though is that the more expensive models while offering very good frame rates won't really show their value. At 2560 x 1600 though running the game at the Ultra Preset, you quickly feel the happiness flow through your body as you see these slick frame rates, which just makes the experience feel so much nicer. Everything is just smooth, the dirt kicks up in such a smooth fashion, the flags are flapping in a smooth fashion and as you cross that finish line, those fireworks show up in such a smooth fashion. That's not to say that the game isn't smooth when you're getting a 30 or 40FPS minimum, there's just something about being around that 60 FPS minimum mark that sends a tingle down your spine when you go through that perfect corner and just catch a glimpse of how nice everything looks.
On a final note the game looks HOT! To be perfectly honest, we've seen a lot of crap games bundled with video cards over the years, but we're glad to say that DiRT2 isn't one of them. While it feels a bit twitchy with a keyboard, if you find yourself with a good gamepad or even better a steering wheel, you should have a blast!