The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Bethesda's epic sword & magic game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is our RPG of choice for benchmarking. It's altogether a good CPU benchmark thanks to its complex scripting and AI, but it also can end up pushing a large number of fairly complex models and effects at once, especially with the addition of the high resolution texture pack.

Skyrim with its optional high resolution texture pack is the textbook case for 2GB cards right now. At 1680x1050 (with lower quality settings) matters aren’t so bad, but at 1920x1200 1GB cards flat out run out of VRAM. This goes for both the GTX 650 Ti 1GB and the 7850 1GB, leaving the field to 2GB cards such as the 7850 2GB and the 2GB factory overclocked retail cards. To that end with enough VRAM the GTX 650 Ti cards can just hit 60fps with their factory overclocks, but the 7850 2GB, which was already just trailing the GTX 660, is well ahead.

Dropping down to 1680x1050 is enough to mitigate the lack of VRAM, but even then the GTX 650 Ti doesn’t fair particularly well. On an absolute basis it’s at 84fps, which is more than smooth, but the 7850 still enjoys a 30% lead. On that note, along with a lack of total VRAM, a lack of memory bandwidth seems to really be hammering the GTX 650 Ti, which is why we not only see the Zotac card pop to the head of that pack, but is why the 7850 and even the GTX 560 do so well here.

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  • chizow - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    On second glance, the AC3 bundle makes the $150 MSRP palatable. While I agree a straight MSRP or $20 MIR at the $130 price point would have been more preferable for many, a bonafide AAA title like Assassin's Creed 3 prior to release is suitable currency. Market value for the game code is at least $20-30 (going by historic FS/Ebay prices of similar AAA title Steam codes) and up to $50-60 for anyone who was going to buy the game at release anyways.

    Personally I'm shocked Nvidia would bundle a such a relevant game code like this with a value part in the $150 price market. Hopefully the generosity filters upward to the GTX 660 and above as the 660 never got a bundle and the BL2 promo on 660Ti and faster parts seems to have dried up at most retailers.
    Reply
  • RussianSensation - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Ok and what happens after you beat AC3? You get a card that tanks in GPU demanding games.

    7850's minimum frames rates are nearly as high as average framerates in games like Crysis 1/2, Skyrim, Witcher 2.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2012/10/...

    You buy a GPU to play 100s of games not 1 game. NV bundled a game on purpose so people would use this argument that well the card is $150 but you get a $50 with it. That's marketing right there. It's still a $150-170 card (if we include after-market versions) that has far slower performance than $160-190 competitor.

    I think $129 would have been a far more reasonable price. Instead, NV delivered a card that has worse price/performance than either the 7770 or the 7850. And if we take 7850's overclocking into consideration, well then it's a total blowout as 7850 OC ~ HD7870/GTX580 in performance.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    "Ok and what happens after you beat AC3? You get a card that tanks in GPU demanding games."

    You still have a card that is $30-$50 cheaper than its MSRP because of the bundled AC3, so while it may not have been worthwhile at $150-$170, it would certainly justify its $120-$140 pricetag.

    Whether you care to admit it or not, AC3 is a valid form of currency as by definition, currency is simply a medium for exchange. We're not talking about games nobody cares about here (See: Gaming Evolved titles), we're talking about some of the most anticipated games of the year on any platform with BL2 and AC3, bundled PRIOR to release while they are still relevant.

    If you were in the market for AC3, you saved $50. If you don't care for AC3, you will be able to easily unload it for ~$30. That effectively reduces the price of the card from $150-$170 to $120-$140.
    Reply
  • Blazorthon - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    *wrong post with this above, oops*

    Don't forget, the 7850 comes with games and so does the 7770. Coming with a game is necessary just to compete right now. The 7770 also has some highly factory overclocked models that can inch out the 650 Ti while still being cheaper. The 650 Ti would do better at $10 or $20 lower and a MIR is a great way to accomplish that since a lot of people forget to do them anyway, but buy the card because of the after MIR price.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    The 7770 is bundled with Nexuiz....seriously why even bother mentioning it? What would you value Nexuiz at? $5? $10?

    Sleeping Dogs with the higher-end AMD cards is decent, still not as strong as Nvidia's BL2 promo, but yeah we are talking about AC3 here which will undoubtedly be a top 5 title for this holiday season.

    The 650Ti has some OC'd models as well that bring it close in performance to the 7850 1GB, but of course, the 7850 distances itself again once OC'd. As I said, a $15-20 price drop would certainly make more sense for the 650Ti and I'm sure we'll start seeing some rebates in a few weeks as all of the higher-end GeForce models have started seeing them in recent weeks.
    Reply
  • hqt4991 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I don't know about you, but I am quite unsure that nobody cares about Far Cry 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, DiRT 3, Dragon Age 2, Saints Row The Third, the Tomb Raider remake or (especially) Bioshock Infinite. I know I do.

    On topic, I agree with Ryan. The 650 Ti isn't strictly a bad card, just that it doesn't make any sense to choose it over the 7850, unless you are absolutely cash-strapped.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Here's the difference between those games you listed and the two latest promos from Nvidia:

    I would actually pay full retail price for BL2 and AC3 and did actually have BL2 pre-ordered prior to Nvidia's promo.

    All the games you listed for Gaming Evolved I would pass on at launch or wait until they were $10 or less in a Steam sale. That's not to say they are bad titles and some may certainly feel differently, but to me and I'm sure many others, they do not carry the same value or currency as the last few games offered by Nvidia.

    Also, afaik, only Sleeping Dogs was offered by AMD as a promo bundle, so until they start bundling some of the better GE titles there's really not much of a comparison to make.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    "I would actually pay full retail price for BL2 and AC3 and did actually have BL2 pre-ordered prior to Nvidia's promo."
    So why are you two arguing about your video game taste? Someone values AC3 higher, someone values SD higher. It's a personal thing. I don't want either of those and am not a big fan of bundled software. So no added game would be a plus in my book.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - link

    Because video game tastes are a direct function of demand. I'm not just referring to my own video game taste, I'm making the point that AC3 is going to appeal to far more gamer's video game tastes which equates to higher demand for it at launch, and by extension, it's buy and sell price and demand will be much higher than any Gaming Evolved titles bundled with AMD cards.

    That brings us full circle to the comment he took issue with about games nobody cares about, its all about relevance and those games he listed are much less relevant to the vast majority of gamers, plain and simple.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, October 12, 2012 - link

    Dirt3 is an amd promo bundle game, and my amd total fanboy buddy just said tonight he hates it because after you install it in order to get the real game you have to go buying all their packs and upgrades spending a buttload of money so it's nothing but crap.

    So there we have the amd marketing kickback extra expense for the disappointed amd penny pinching moaning poor boy amd fan...
    LOL

    It's funny because it's 100% true but also so freakin sad.
    Reply

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