Performance in First-Person 3D Shooters
Call of Duty: World at War
Starting from version 1.3 we use the game’s integrated benchmarking options together with a custom demo record. Unfortunately, this method does not report the bottom frame rate.
The two heavyweights engage into a hot fight right from the start. The GeForce GTX 285 SLI is 7 to 15% slower than its opponent at resolutions up to 2560x1600 pixels but wins the latter resolution by almost 8%. The multi-GPU subsystems both deliver excellent speed irrespective of the display mode.
But the highest speed in this game can be achieved on the Radeon HD 4870 3-way CrossFireX configuration which is, however, bulky, noisy, uneconomical, and not easy to use. When it comes to such consumer properties, the GeForce GTX 295 is the overall winner. It is not much slower than the leaders but is quiet, occupies only one PCIe x16 slot and does not require a mainboard with support for multi-GPU technologies.
It is far more interesting to watch the titans fight in Crysis Warhead because they are trying to deliver a comfortable frame rate at resolutions above 1280x1024. The winner is the GeForce GTX 285 SLI whereas its opponent, having almost the same average performance at 1680x1050, cannot keep the bottom speed above 25fps.
Take note that the dual-processor Radeon HD 4890 CrossFireX is far more effective than the triple-processor Radeon HD 4870 3-way CrossFireX at every resolution. Judging by the results, the overhead for synchronizing the three GPUs has eaten all the performance growth. Perhaps the Catalyst driver is not optimized well for this game.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
We disabled the integrated frame rate limiter in the game console for the sake of comparing the cards. The game’s built-in benchmarking options do not provide information about the bottom speed, so there is no such info in the diagrams.
The GeForce GTX 285 SLI is in the lead at resolutions up to 1920x1200 inclusive, outperforming the Radeon HD 4890 CrossFireX by 2-9%. The gap is shrinking as the resolution grows up. ATI’s solution wins at 2560x1600 but all this winning has little practical wroth since the graphics subsystems are both fast enough for every display mode.
The Radeon HD 4870 3-way CrossFireX platform is again imperfect, taking first place at 2560x1600 only. It is a mere 11fps ahead of the GeForce GTX 295 while the average frame rates of both solutions are 100-115fps. Thus, the GTX 295 shows itself as the best single graphics card available today but we are expecting ATI partners’ answer in the way of Radeon HD 4890 X2.