AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review Feat. Sapphire & XFX: Sewing Up The High-End Marketby Ryan Smith on January 31, 2012 9:02 AM EST
Its popularity aside, Battlefield 3 may be the most interesting game in our benchmark suite for a single reason: it’s the first AAA DX10+ game. It’s been 5 years since the launch of the first DX10 GPUs, and 3 whole process node shrinks later we’re finally to the point where games are using DX10’s functionality as a baseline rather than an addition. Not surprisingly BF3 is one of the best looking games in our suite, but as with past Battlefield games that beauty comes with a high performance cost
Battlefield 3 was a game the 7970 struggled with at launch, and even with AMD’s driver optimizations they haven’t been able to do a great deal about it so far. As a result the 7950 trails the GTX 580 the entire time by anywhere between 3% and 10%, and unfortunately for AMD BF3 is a very demanding game, making it one of the worst titles to fall behind at. As 2560 is not going to be playable, we’re realistically looking at 1920, where the 7950 is fast enough to crack 60fps, but is where that 10% performance gap is found.
Thankfully for Sapphire and XFX, overclocking is the great equalizer here. With their factory overclocks their cards generally erase the 10% performance gap, taking a very slight lead over the GTX 580 at both 2560 and 1920. Though there continues to be very little difference between the two cards themselves—XFX’s memory overclock is rarely worth more than a frame or two per second.