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Testbed and Methods

We are going to investigate the performance of Radeon HD 5970 graphics card using the following universal testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor (3.33 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • 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, SATAII);
  • Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL 1000 W power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit;
  • ATI Catalyst 8.663.1 Beta 4 “Hemlock” for ATI Radeon HD 5970;
  • ATI Catalyst 9.10 for ATI Radeon HD 5800/4800;
  • Nvidia GeForce 191.07 WHQL 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
  • Enable Adaptive Anti-Aliasing: On/Quality
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia GeForce:

  • Texture filtering – Quality: High quality
  • Texture filtering – Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Threaded optimization: Auto
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Multi-GPU performance mode: NVIDIA recommended
  • Multi-display mixed-GPU acceleration: Multiple display performance mode
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Other settings: default

The list of benchmarks includes the following gaming titles and synthetic tests:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Far Cry 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
  • Wolfenstein

Third-Person 3D Shooters

  • Street Fighter IV
  • Resident Evil 5

RPG

  • Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta

Simulators

  • Need for Speed: Shift
  • Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Strategies

  • BattleForge
  • World in Conflict: Soviet Assault

Semi-synthetic benchmarks

  • 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. We made a few exceptions for selected games if that was necessary. We are going to specifically dwell on each exception like that later on in our article.

Besides Radeon HD 5970 we have also included the following graphics accelerators to participate in our test session:

  • ATI Radeon HD 5870 (RV870, 850/850/4800 MHz, 1600 sp, 80 tmu, 32 rbe, 256-bit, 1024 MB GDDR5)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 (2xRV770, 750/750/3600 MHz, 1600 sp, 80 tmu, 32 rbe, 2x256-bit, 2x1024 MB GDDR5)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4890 (RV790, 850/850/3900 MHz, 800 sp, 40 tmu, 16 rbe, 256-bit, 1024 MB GDDR5)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 (2xG200b, 576/1242/1998 MHz, 480 sp, 160 tmu, 56 rbe, 2x448-bit, 2x896 MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 285 (G200b, 648/1476/2484 MHz, 240 sp, 80 tmu, 32 rbe, 512-bit, 1024 MB GDDR3)

We ran our tests in the following resolutions: 1280x1024, 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. Everywhere, where it was possible we added MSAA 4x antialiasing to the standard anisotropic filtering 16x. We enabled antialiasing from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate driver settings of ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce drivers.

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 result of the three for the performance charts.

 
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