ConclusionSupremer Commander requires extremely high performances from the graphic card and the processor unlike what some may have thought. This partly results from the choices made by GPG to set up the strategic zoom making the hardware requirements correspond to high end computers today and middle line products of tomorrow.
Of course, we knowingly used a heavy scene and the game on Internet will unload the processor from AI management. Nevertheless, it is inconceivable to really enjoy the game with less than a dual core unless you stick to 1vs1 games that will last less than half an hour. In our test conditions, it is of course the quad core that is best for play even if the multi-threading of Supreme Commander is quite simple and the 4 cores are only partially used. In fact, 3 are enough.
As for the graphic card, if it is possible to play with less powerful cards on the condition that the level of detail is significantly reduced, we recommend at least the ex high end of DirectX 9 cards, the X1900/1950 and 7900/7950. Like the quad core, the GeForce 8800 brings some real improvements and we have heard about a DirectX 10 patch for the game. We have to hope that it will reduce the CPU load due to the API and that, in consequence, will increase overall performances. Knowing that the performance improvement is more on the geometrical level, we will be able to increase the resolution without much consequence or add effects such as anti-aliasing.
A word about SLI…Whether for the GeForce 7 or GeForce 8, it doesn’t change much. Having two cards for a dual monitor configuration isn't really useful either because both monitors are managed by a single graphic card. It’s also interesting to note that the CPU and motherboard aren't the only restricting factors. Supreme Commander is quite hungry in terms of memory and with average games it can easily requires up to 1 GB. With very big games (7 AI on a big map) we reached 2GB of virtual memory attributed to the game. Increasing this limit leads to a game crash. To go around this problem, modify the boot.ini of a Windows 32 bit to reach 3 GB for one application and also the game executable (to have more information, take a look at this topic
). This corresponds to an extreme case, but in practice, 2 GB of RAM memory are recommended.
Are we going to integrate Supreme Commander to our test protocol for processors and graphic cards? This was the question we tried to answer in this article. The answer is, no. The most interesting aspect of Supreme Commander is that this game is multithreaded and it isn't really usable as a bench. Having a combination of simulation time and framerate that varies according to the processor power isn't a problem by itself. However, it is a problem to have significant performance variations between two executions without any real explanation. In consequence and unfortunately, this prevents any use for a serious test protocol and product analysis.