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ATI Radeon HD 5770 CrossFireX Performance
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by Rob Williams on December 7, 2009 in AMD-Based GPU

Want to purchase a Radeon HD 5870, but can’t find one in stock? One alternative to consider is instead purchasing two Radeon HD 5770’s to take advantage of CrossFireX. Not only does this solution save you up to $80 at current pricing, but it proved in our results to offer even better performance in select titles, such as with Modern Warfare 2.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

When the original Call of Duty game launched in 2003, Infinity Ward was an unknown. Naturally… it was the company’s first title. But since then, the series and company alike have become household names. Not only has the series delivered consistently incredible gameplay, it’s pushed the graphics envelope with each successive release, and where Modern Warfare is concerned, it’s also had a rich storyline.

The first two titles might have been built on the already-outdated Quake III engine, but since then, the games have been built with improved graphical features, capable of pushing the highest-end PCs out there. Modern Warfare 2 is the first such exception, as it’s more of a console port than a true PC title. Therefore, the game doesn’t push PC hardware as much as we’d like to see, but despite that, it still looks great, and lacks little in the graphics department. You can read our review of the game here.

Manual Run-through: The level chosen is the 10th mission in the game, “The Gulag”. Our teams fly in helicopters up to an old prison with the intention of getting closer to finding the game’s villain, Vladimir Makarov. Our saved game file begins us at the point when the level name comes on the screen, right before we reach the prison, and it ends after one minute of landing, following the normal progression of the level. The entire run takes around two-and-a-half minutes.

At first glance, these results seem to make little sense. After all, the HD 5770 is 1/2 of the HD 5870 from a technical standpoint, and is equipped with a slimmer memory bus, so at the very best, you’d expect it to match, but not exceed the HD 5870. The only theory I have is that it’s the combined memory of the two cards (2GB vs. 1GB) that’s causing the improvement. There’s no other explanation I can think of, but for all things considered, it doesn’t matter. We didn’t just match the HD 5870, but surpassed it… that’s excellent to see.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
ATI HD 5770 1GB CrossFireX

2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
40
81.311
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
46
79.838
ATI HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
37
68.563
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
41
66.527
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
37
61.937
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
33
53.314
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
36
60.337
NVIDIA GTS 250 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
30
53.253
ATI HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
28
50.727

With a single HD 5770, we had to disable anti-alising in order to reach our performance targets, but with the second card, as seen above, we have no problem maxing out all settings in the game and seeing great frame rates. What impresses me most is the scalability here. Yes, two cards have 200% the raw performance of a single card, but it’s not too often that we see such stark increase in the real-world. In this particular case, we saw a nice 80% increase by adding the second card.


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