by Rob Williams on April 21, 2010 in Graphics & Displays
NVIDIA might have hoped for otherwise, but even after the GTX 480’s launch, AMD’s Radeon HD 5870 still proves to be an excellent choice for the price-point. We’re taking a look at PowerColor’s PCS+ version here, which includes a robust cooler, quieter operation, a slight overclock, and a complete copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Although we generally shun automated gaming benchmarks, we do like to run at least one to see how our GPUs scale when used in a ‘timedemo’-type scenario. Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage is without question the best such test on the market, and it’s a joy to use, and watch. The folks at Futuremark are experts in what they do, and they really know how to push that hardware of yours to its limit.
The company first started out as MadOnion and released a GPU-benchmarking tool called XLR8R, which was soon replaced with 3DMark 99. Since that time, we’ve seen seven different versions of the software, including two major updates (3DMark 99 Max, 3DMark 2001 SE). With each new release, the graphics get better, the capabilities get better and the sudden hit of ambition to get down and dirty with overclocking comes at you fast.
Similar to a real game, 3DMark Vantage offers many configuration options, although many (including us) prefer to stick to the profiles which include Performance, High and Extreme. Depending on which one you choose, the graphic options are tweaked accordingly, as well as the resolution. As you’d expect, the better the profile, the more intensive the test.
Performance is the stock mode that most use when benchmarking, but it only uses a resolution of 1280×1024, which isn’t representative of today’s gamers. Extreme is more appropriate, as it runs at 1920×1200 and does well to push any single or multi-GPU configuration currently on the market – and will do so for some time to come.
For our last test, the PCS+ matches the reference card almost exactly. It’s results are slightly behind the reference at 2560×1600, but that’s nothing to take too much credence in. For all intents and purposes, the performance is the same.