by Rob Williams on February 18, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
Does a multi-GPU setup with one card interest you? You may want to take a look at AMD’s latest high-end offering, the HD 3870 X2. We are taking a look at ASUS’ version of the card which features a fantastic bundle, including an HDMI adapter and Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts.
Each graph for our benchmarking results are labeled with the resolution that the game was played at, while omitting secondary settings such as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, texture quality, et cetera. To view all specific settings that we used, please refer to our testing methodology page, where we have screenshots for each game.
It’s not often that a game comes along that truly pushes our hardware to the utmost limit. Crysis is one of those few games, and that will be the case for at least the next year. Don’t believe me? Boot up your top-end machine, max out your resolution and set the graphics to “Very High”. I guarantee tears will be shed within a few seconds of loading a level.
The level we chose here is Onslaught, also known as level five. We begin out in a tunnel, but what’s important is that we are in control of a tank. What could be more fun? Our run through consists of leaving the tunnel and hitting the other side of the battlefield, killing six or seven enemy tanks along the way.
It goes without saying that any level in Crysis would make for a great benchmark, but this one in particular is gorgeous. Using the “Medium” settings, the game looks spectacular and is playable on all of our graphic cards, so we stick with it. Throughout the level, there is much foliage and trees and also large view-distances. Explosions from the tanks is also a visual treat, making this one level I don’t mind playing over and over, and over.
Settings: Due to the intensiveness of the game, no AA is used at any resolution, and the secondary settings are all left to Medium.
Though the 3870 X2 is fastest card of the bunch, ATI’s current official drivers are premature where Crysis is concerned. Most launch reviews for ATI’s latest card in late January utilized beta drivers which helped put the card on top. However, that driver is not available to the public and I am unsure when it will be. ATI released Catalyst 8.2 on Feb 13, which lacked these updates, so we might see it happen in 8.3.
Call of Duty 4
While Crysis has the ability to bring any system to its knees with reasonable graphic settings, Call of Duty 4 is a title that looks great no matter what setting you choose, even if you have it running well! It’s also one of the few games on the market that will benefit from having more than one core in your machine, as well.
The level chosen here is The Bog, for the simple fact that it’s incredibly intensive on the system. Though it takes place at night, there is more gunfire, explosions and specular lighting than you can shake an assault rifle at.
Our run consists of proceeding through the level to a point where we are about to leave a building we entered a minute before, after killing off a slew of enemies. The entire run-through takes about four minutes on average.
Settings: High details are used overall throughout all tests, although 4x AA is used for our 1920×1200 setting. That AA is removed in our 2560×1600. As we can see in the graphs below, both of those settings are quite similar in performance.
While the X2 lacked in Crysis performance, it certainly made up for it in Call of Duty 4, topping charts in all three of our settings. The gains were not huge as one would expect, however. As we will see soon, the card might perform better than average in a few titles, but really excel in others.