The last new game in our benchmark suite is Civilization 5, the latest incarnation in Firaxis Games’ series of turn-based strategy games. Civ 5 gives us an interesting look at things that not even RTSes can match, with a much weaker focus on shading in the game world, and a much greater focus on creating the geometry needed to bring such a world to life. In doing so it uses a slew of DirectX 11 technologies, including tessellation for said geometry and compute shaders for on-the-fly texture decompression.

It’s also one of the few games banned at AnandTech, as “one more turn” and article deadlines are rarely compatible.

Civ 5 has given us benchmark results that quite honestly we have yet to fully appreciate. A tight clustering of results would normally indicate that we’re CPU bound, but the multi-GPU results – particularly for the AMD cards – turns this concept on its head by improving performance by 47% anyhow. The most telling results however are found in the GTX 460 cards, where there’s a clear jump in performance going form the 768MB card to the 1GB card, and again from the 1GB card to the EVGA card. The 1GB GTX only improves on memory, memory bandwidth, and ROPs, greatly narrowing down the factors. No one factor can explain our results, but we believe we’re almost simultaneously memory and geometry bound.

With that in mind, this is clearly a game that benefits NVIDIA’s GPUs right now when we’re looking at single-GPU performance. This likely comes down to NVIDIA’s greater geometry capabilities, but we’re not willing to rule out drivers quite yet, particularly when a partially CPU-bound game comes in to play. In any case NVIDIA’s advantage leads to their wiping the floor with AMD here, as even the mere GTX 460 768MB can best a 5870, let alone the 6800 series.

Crossfire changes things up, but only because NVIDIA apparently does not have a SLI profile for Civ 5 at this time.

HAWX Battlefield: Bad Company 2
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  • pcfxer - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    The problem with that is that GPUs are much more complex than the way a single score can paint. The technology is complex and thus explaining performance across the board is also complex. It very much is the nature of the beast.

    The only way to go is to scour the web for reviews of the videocards that you are looking at specifically and for the applications you would like to run. It is still true though, that a 5870 will outperform a 5850 or a 5770 so they made that simple.

    AMD definitely has ruined the simple 5850 5870 5890 nomenclature though...
    Reply
  • Krich420 - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    I think if they just named it 6850/6830 instead of 6870/6850 they could have saved themselves a lot of negative sentiment. Reply
  • Sparks_IT - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Any information on Eyefinity. I thought there was to be an update/improvement? And is an active adapter still needed? Reply
  • Jansen - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    There are connections for 2 mini DisplayPort, 1 HDMI 1.4a, and 2 DVI.

    http://www.dailytech.com/Radeon+6800+Series+Launch...

    There are some pretty cheap mini-DP adapters out now.
    Reply
  • Jansen - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    My point should have been that you can now use 4 monitors natively with a single card. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Actually its still limited to two displays at once as I recall. It has four interfaces, but they cannot function simultaneously. Reply
  • mino - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    4 it is.
    DP interfaces are independent from DVI/HDMI ones.

    So yeas, you can use any 2 of the DVI-DVI-HDMI plus those 2 DP interfaces.
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    No way, that's not how Eyefinity works
    Eyefinity allows 3 monitors to be driven by a single card, I don't think they would make it any less with the new cards. It may not be 4, but 3 should be alright
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Ahh yeah, you are right. For some reason that bit of detail was not in mind at the time that I posted. Guess thats what I get for responding so late at night :) Reply
  • ninjaquick - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Actually, Barts can push 6 screens... As could cypress but it was crippled to three most of the time, with the exception being eyefinity series cards that had 6 DP on the back. Reply

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