Articles: Graphics

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It seems that Nvidia based solutions have higher fps headroom in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm MMORPG. The main disappointment here is Radeon HD 6990 graphics card. After paying a costly price of $699 you will hardly be eager to settle for the second best result, but that is exactly where AMD's champion ends up in the end of the day.  AMD is definitely in need of a driver optimization at least for their top offerings.

Speaking about modes, I have to say that both Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590 behave strangely in World of Warcraft video game. There are no artifacts, but it seems that their respected multi-GPU driver profiles work at some point and then don’t.

The new officially released DirectX 11 support is a clear Nvidia turf. Nvidia based GeForce GTX 590 and GeForce GTX 580 are definitely on top of the game here as both manage to easily push fps numbers over 100 in DirectX 11 mode. Having said that, AMD derived product benefit from the more contemporary render path as well, demonstrating an almost 50% performance boost without any extra costs.

Performance Category

Performance-mainstream competition is as fierce as ever. The performance gain due to the DirectX 11 implemented render path is almost incredible. Nvidia based products are still the favorites here as they manage to squeeze more performance from the recent patch in comparison to AMD Radeon HD graphics cards.

If there was little difference between GeForce GTX 570 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti in DirectX 9 battle, the picture changes significantly as soon as you switch to the DirectX 11 mode. The former boasts considerably higher fps numbers and is a favorite for the WoW rendering. On the other hand, even 50+ fps in 2560x1600 is more than enough to be the champion of Tol Barad with the help of a much more affordable GeForce GTX 560 Ti.

AMD based solutions may be lagging a bit behind their competitors, but they arrive at the scene in flying formation. If you have the money, go for the Radeon HD 6950 graphics card as it is probably the best all-rounder at the moment. Alternatively you may want to consider a Radeon HD 6850 based product. Thanks to the DirectX 11 patch, its appeal just got that much higher and any resolution up to premium class 2560x1600 is available at a significantly reduced price.

Mainstream Category

Unfortunately we didn’t have the recently released AMD Radeon HD 6790 graphics card in our testing laboratory at the time of this review. It would be most interesting to compare it against highly impressive GeForce GTX 550 Ti, which is a clear leader in the mainstream segment. Thanks to the patch influenced speed bump it is even possible to play at such demanding resolution as 2560x1600 with such an affordable solution.

The previous generation Radeon HD 5770 still has got what it takes to steal your heart. It may have been released in October of 2009, but this Juniper based graphics card running in DirectX 11 mode is only slightly behind GeForce GTX 550 Ti, especially in higher resolutions.

The entry level market can’t really bring anything new to the table even with the DirectX 11 afterburner enabled. Although AMD Radeon HD 5670 and Nvidia GeForce GT 430 graphics cards show increased fps numbers thanks to the faster API, the overall performance level begs for lower quality settings. Keep in-mind that this is Ultra mode with FSAA 4x enabled, so there is plenty of room for compromise.

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