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Performance in Simulators

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

We enable the DirectX 11 mode for graphics cards that support it.

Despite the new tessellation subunit, the Radeon HD 6800 is not as brilliant here as in the earlier tests just because tessellation is not a bottleneck in this game. The senior Radeon HD 6800 is competitive to the Radeon HD 5850 rather than to the Radeon HD 5870. The junior is slower than both GeForce GTX 460 cards except for the resolution of 2560x1600 where it equals the 768MB version. On the other hand, the Radeon HD 6850 makes the game quite playable even at the highest resolution.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.

The game’s integrated benchmark cannot report the bottom frame rate. We use DirectX 10 and 10.1 modes here.

The new Radeon HD models prove that they indeed belong to a new generation. The Radeon HD 6870 overtakes the GeForce GTX 460 1GB at 1920x1080 and the GeForce GTX 470 at 2560x1600 although this test used to be Nvidia's home turf. The Radeon HD 6850 is not that successful, but quite competitive to the Nvidia GF104-based products staring from 1920x1080.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 Preview Benchmark

This benchmark was distributed by Nvidia until October 22, 2010.

The Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 Preview Benchmark uses tessellation to render the ground, increasing the number of primitives to 1.5 million per one frame, not counting airplanes, trees and buildings in. The size of a typical primitive is 6 pixels, which is not optimal from many points of view.

The preview benchmark (the game itself hasn't been released yet) makes Nvidia’s solutions unrivalled. The Radeon HD 6870 is quite far ahead of the Radeon HD 5870, but cannot match the GeForce GTX 460 768MB, let alone the faster Fermi series products, despite the improved tessellation subunit. The only piece of good news for AMD is that the new cards deliver a playable frame rate even at a resolution of 2560x1600.

We must admit that AMD criticizes this preview benchmark for differing from other tessellation-employing applications. One Web source quotes AMD as saying the following:

"It has come to our attention that you may have received an early build of a benchmark based on the upcoming Ubisoft title H.A.W.X. 2. I'm sure you are fully aware that the timing of this benchmark is not coincidental and is an attempt by our competitor to negatively influence your reviews of the AMD Radeon HD 6800-series products. We suggest you do not use this benchmark at present as it has known issues with its implementation of DirectX 11 tessellation and does not serve as a useful indicator of performance for the HD 6800 series. A quick comparison of the performance data in H.A.W.X. 2, with tessellation on, and that of other games/benchmarks will demonstrate how unrepresentative H.A.W.X. 2 performance is of real world performance.
AMD has demonstrated to Ubisoft tessellation performance improvements that benefit all GPUs, but the developer has chosen not to implement them in the preview benchmark. For that reason, we are working on a driver-based solution in time for the final release of the game that improves performance without sacrificing image quality. In the meantime we recommend you hold off using the benchmark as it will not provide a useful measure of performance relative to other DirectX 11 games using tessellation."

AMD’s annoyance can be understood because the H.A.W.X. 2 Preview Benchmark uses tessellation too much, making it the main bottleneck in terms of frame rate. It’s interesting to note that the preview benchmark runs faster than the real game H.A.W.X.

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