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Redwood and Cedar: Gaming Performance

Testbed and Methods

We are going to investigate the performance of AMD Redwood and Cedar based graphics cards using the following universal testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor (3.33 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Scythe SCKTN-3000 Katana 3 CPU cooler;
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme mainboard (Intel X58 Express chipset);
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3 x 2 GB, 1333 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Samsung Spinpoint F1 HDD (1 TB, 32 MB buffer, SATA II);
  • Ultra X4 850 W Modular power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit;
  • ATI Catalyst 10.2 driver for ATI Radeon HD;
  • Nvidia GeForce 196.21 WHQL driver for Nvidia GeForce.

The graphics card drivers were configured in the following way:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Smoothvision HD: Anti-Aliasing: Use application settings/Box Filter
  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • AAMode: Quality
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia GeForce:

  • Texture filtering – Quality: High quality
  • Texture filtering – Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Other settings: default

Since the junior models of ATI Radeon HD graphics cards based on RV830, not to mention RV810, are definitely not the primary gaming choices we decided to use a lite version of our benchmarking suite. It included the following gaming titles and tests:

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Street Fighter IV
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Colin McRae: Dirt 2
  • BattleForge
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

We selected the highest possible level of detail in each game using standard tools provided by the game itself from the gaming menu. The games configuration files weren’t modified in any way, because the ordinary user doesn’t have to know how to do it.

Since the systems equipped with Radeon HD 5670/5570/5450 and similar solutions often serve as HTPCs and are connected to a plasma or LCD screen, we decided to run our gaming tests in a standard resolution for devices of this sort: 1360x768 (720p) and 1920x1080 (1080p). We forced anisotropic filtering 16x in each case, while MSAA 4x was only used in the least resource hungry games such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Resident Evil 5

Performance was measured with the games’ own tools and the original demos were recorded if possible. We measured not only the average speed, but also the minimum speed of the cards where possible. Otherwise, the performance was measured manually with Fraps utility version 3.0.2. In the latter case we ran the test three times and took the average of the three for the performance charts.

 
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