Compute & Tessellation

Moving on from our look at gaming performance, we have our customary look at compute performance, bundled with a look at theoretical tessellation performance.

Our first compute benchmark comes from Civilization V, which uses DirectCompute to decompress textures on the fly. Civ V includes a sub-benchmark that exclusively tests the speed of their texture decompression algorithm by repeatedly decompressing the textures required for one of the game’s leader scenes.

Civilization V’s compute benchmark cares little for memory bandwidth or the architectural differences between Barts and Juniper; SPs and clockspeed are what matter here. As a result the 6790 narrowly averts a tie with the 5770 of all things, and the performance relative to NVIDIA’s cards isn’t any better.

Our second GPU compute benchmark is SmallLuxGPU, the GPU ray tracing branch of the open source LuxRender renderer. While it’s still in beta, SmallLuxGPU recently hit a milestone by implementing a complete ray tracing engine in OpenCL, allowing them to fully offload the process to the GPU. It’s this ray tracing engine we’re testing.

SmallLuxGPU ends up being one of the best showings for the 6790, as while it’s obviously compute bound, it definitely benefits from the architectural differences between Barts and Juniper. The 6790’s performance relative to the 6850 almost identically matches the theoretical performance difference, and in spite of the 5770 having a slight theoretical advantage of its own, the 6790 easily beats the 5770 by 16%. This opens up a small window for the 6790 as a lower-priced GPGPU product, but it’s a very small window – the program would need to excel on AMD cards and on Barts over Juniper. Otherwise we see SLG where the 6790 does well versus the 5770, but very poorly compared to NVIDIA’s cards.

At the other end of the spectrum from GPU computing performance is GPU tessellation performance, used exclusively for graphical purposes. Barts’ tessellation improvements should give it an edge over the 5770, but it still has to contend with the 6800 series.

At this point in time none of our games closely match our tessellation results, which shouldn’t be a surprise given the low usage of tessellation. Although Barts isn’t a tessellation monster it could do quite well in the future if tessellation takes off in a manner similar to how these benchmarks use it, but that’s a very big if.

Wolfenstein Power, Temperature, & Noise
POST A COMMENT

69 Comments

View All Comments

  • deputc26 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    On the last page.
    "and it would make NVIDIA think long and hard about what to do with what to do with the GTX 460 768MB"

    Oh and this comments section never remembers me despite always ticking the "remember me" box, (W7 Chrome)... annoying
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Why not just reduce the price of a 6850 a bit more... And calling it the 6830 wouldn't have hurt that much - since AMD totally screwup the model names of the entire 6000 series.

    Pretty much everyone knows the 6800s are cheaper and slightly updated 5800s.

    Think I'll wait until the 7000s come out... but that maybe in 2012.
    Reply
  • enterco - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    So, 6790 looks like a 5770 with a little performance improvement. For a 5770 / 450 owner it doesn't make any sense. Maybe for a new computer build on a specific tight budget. Reply
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    And 30+% the price. Why not go for the best price-performance at low overall price (which 6790 clearly isn't) when on extremely tight budget ? Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Yet another round of "uhm", "oh", "but", "duh" about AMD product.
    In other news, we compare three 350$ AMD cards vs 3 500$ nVidia cards.

    Way to go, Anand.
    Reply
  • Mecavity - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Oh, yay. Wouldn't be a proper article without someone complaining about an nVidia bias.

    A) The most expensive card included is an AMD...?
    B) The article is about a 150$ AMD card...? The case is being argued fairly, and the actual FOCUS is on comparing cards at the same level of pricing...?
    C) Critique works better if you state what you'd like to see included...?
    D) Derp.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    The article is about 6790 and most of the conclusion page is about how 5830 sucks? (And how much did 5830 suck? Oh', they've dared to add more features while sacrificing a bit of performance and charge a bit more for it, how shameless... And this made it into the title of the product review. Pathetic.) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I noticed they gave this the exact same title they did for the 550Ti - "Coming up short at $150". And really the criticisms are the same - it is overpriced compared to both internal and external competition.

    How would you suggest they get excited over this? And how do you claim bias when one of the products they keep pointing to is the 6850?
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Jesus Christ, AMD 3x350$ cards vs 3x500$ nVidia cards, where is bashing of the latter? (expensive, under performing and power hungry)

    How about if bashing, then bash both (who was there "duking out for performance king" eh?) if using softer words, then for all?

    Don't have balls to bash both anymore (stinky nVidia stories, *cough*)? DON'T BASH ANY!!!

    Oh, and last time I've checked, 460 was 160-200$ card (with MSRP 190$). And that was today.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I agree with ya.

    This article is focusing on the wrong things. Nvidia 460 768 MB is on the way out and has been publicly stated by Nvidia so that is going to leave a huge hole at $150 price point which is where the 6790 fits in. If you check out some of the other review sites the card performs pretty well (Anand your game library for benches sucks, HAWX - really? get with the times already!!!) plus the 6790 overclocks like a champ.

    Sure this is not the perfect $150 card but its most likely going to be the best there is in the immediate future.

    Im disappointed in this article.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now