Compute

Moving on from our look at gaming performance, we have our customary look at compute performance.

Our first compute benchmark comes from Civilization V, which uses DirectCompute to decompress textures on the fly. Civ5 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.

In the game world Civ5 benefits significantly from SLI and CrossFire. For our texture compression test however AFR is more a liability than a benefit. This doesn’t impact the game in any meaningful manner, but it’s an example of how SLI/CF aren’t always the right tool for the job. Unfortunately for both parties, with as few compute applications as there are today, almost none of them benefit from SLI/CF.

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 only currently supports ray tracing with one GPU, so all of our results are effectively proxies for what would be if the GTX 590 only had one GPU. Not surprisingly overclocks do wonders here, and NVIDIA’s strong compute architecture gives them an easy win. SLI/CF performance will become more important here when we upgrade to LuxMark for our next iteration of our benchmark suite, as LuxMark can handle multiple OpenCL drivers.

Our final compute benchmark is a Folding @ Home benchmark. Given NVIDIA’s focus on compute for Fermi, cards such as the GTX 590 can be particularly interesting for distributed computing enthusiasts, as two GPUs should be able to quickly retire work units.

Folding@Home doesn’t directly benefit from CF/SLI at all. However by dispatching one WU to each GPU it’s possible to double effective performance. With that taken into account the GTX 590 is quite an effective cruncher, particularly when we start looking at overclocking.

Wolfenstein Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • Cali3350 - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Last Page you have a seeming paragraph that says "Quickly, let's also..." and then stops. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Also "Unlike AMD isn’t using an exotic phase change thermal compound here" on the meet the card page Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Another one "This doesn’t the game in any meaningful manner, but it’s an example of how SLI/CF aren’t always the right tool for the job." on the computation page. Reply
  • ahar - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Page 2
    "...NVIDIA’s advice about SLI mirror’s AMD’s advice..."

    mirrors
    Reply
  • beepboy - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    "Quickly, let's also"

    Nice review.
    Reply
  • slickr - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    For $700 I'd rather buy a whole new PC.

    Whats the point of playing games at larger resolutions than 1600x1050.

    In fact I'd say that 720p resolution is probably the best to play games at, because it tends to be easier to follow since pixels kind of move faster and you have more precision and smoother gameplay experience.

    I'd be keeping my AMD 6870 that is for sure!
    Reply
  • HangFire - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    I've once heard that the secret to happiness is learning to like the taste of cheap beer. Reply
  • nyran125 - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    did you know thats actually true lol. If you can have your coffee black, then if milk runs out you still get to enjoy life...... Reply
  • cjl - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    That depends entirely on your GPU. Several can push high resolutions at >60fps, and it's just as smooth. Gaming at 2560x1600 is just an awesome experience. Reply
  • Azethoth - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    Exactly, some of us have panels with native 2560x1600. I _could_ game at some miserable 1600x1050 resolution, or I could play at my native resolution. I choose 2560x1600 and ignore all review results at inferior resolutions. Damn you Crysis, damn you! Reply

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