Crysis: Warhead

Kicking things off as always is Crysis: Warhead, still one of the toughest game in our benchmark suite. Even 3 years since the release of the original Crysis, “but can it run Crysis?” is still an important question, and for 3 years the answer was “no.” However as we’ll see the 6990 changes that: full Enthusiast settings at a playable framerate is finally in the grasp of a single card.

It should come as no surprise that with the 6990, AMD has hit a few different important marks on Crysis for a single card thanks to the card’s near-6970CF performance. As far as our traditional 2560 benchmark goes, the 6990 cracks 60fps, meaning we can finally play Crysis at a perfectly smooth framerate at 2560 with our tweaked settings on what is more or less a single video card. Perhaps more importantly however, performance is to the point where Crysis in full enthusiast mode is now a practical benchmark. Thanks in big part to the extra VRAM here, the tops the 5970 by nearly 30%, coming in at 42.8fps. This is still a bit low for a completely smooth framerate, but it is in fact playable, which is more than we can say for the 5970.

Overall Crysis does a good job setting the stage here for most of our benchmark suite: the performance of the card is consistently between the 6950CF and 6970CF, hovering much closer to the former. Compared to NVIDIA’s offerings the 6990 is solidly between the GTX 580 and GTX 580SLI, owing to the fact that NVIDIA doesn’t have a comparable card. The GTX 580SLI is faster, but the 580 is also still the fastest single-GPU card on the market, meaning it commands a significant price premium.

Overclocked to uber mode however only shows minimal gains, as the theoretical maximum gain is only 6% while the real world benefit is less; uber mode alone will never have a big payoff.

As far as minimum framerates are concerned the story is similar. For some reason the 6990 underperforms the 6950CF here by a frame or two per second, which given the 6990’s mostly superior specs leads us to believe that it’s a limitation of PCIe bus bandwidth.  Meanwhile we can clearly see the benefits of more than 1GB of VRAM per GPU here: the 6990 walks all over the 5970.

New Catalyst Control Center Features & The Test BattleForge
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  • Figaro56 - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    I have 2 XFX HD 5870 cards for sale. I have a double lifetime warranty on these so you get the use of the second lifetime warranty on these. Interested? They are very great performers I can vouch for that. I am use to upgrading my GPU on an annual basis so I am upgrading to 2 HD 6970. $230 each. Reply
  • Thanny - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    Ignoring the inappropriateness of advertising here, I submit:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Why would someone pay you $230 for a used product that can be obtained new at $190?
    Reply
  • fausto412 - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    I kinda wanted to see a chart with the most common gaming resolution...and can we benchmark with a Q9550 just for comparison? i would love to know if i'm holding back a video card by not going i5 or i7 and by how much. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    If you can afford a 6990 why would you be bothering using it with a Q9550 at 1680x1050. Hence why it isnt part of this review.

    This review is to show how it works for the intended market/customer.

    As I said before, this card isnt for folks like you (or me for that matter). Sorry.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    The most common gaming resolution for this card is the one Ryan tested. It is pointless to test at a lower resolution other than possibly true 24" (1920X1200). And even at that res this card is really not needed. Reply
  • Figaro56 - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    BOYA to both of those resolutions. You should be playing your games at 2560x1600. Now that's what I'm talkin about! You'd be saying hell ya. Reply
  • Jorgisven - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    It seems we're getting into the Pentium IV trap, a bit. Big, hot, power-hungry, noisy chips...personally, I'm going to pass on this generation of GPUs. I'm waiting for a revolution in either manufacturing or coding. It's all well and good to have a fast computer for getting what you need done in minimal, but at the risk of the box taking flight because the fans are now of jet engine proportion in speed and power, I'd rather not be able to hear my fans over my headphones...or risk my cat getting sucked into the intake. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    Well we've kinda got what we asked for. We've all gamely been buying more and more powerful graphics cards with regards to brute force rendering power.

    We've shown we love buying 750w+ power supplies with multiple GPU connectors, buying SLI and Xfire setups galore.

    So the GPU corps think we love nothing more than just piling on more and more power and wattage to solve the situation.

    It works both ways.

    What we should have been doing was challenging AMD and Nvidia to develop smarter rendering techniques. Had either of them developed PowerVR to the state we are in today we would be in a far better place. Chances are the most power hungry card we'd have today would be 5770 level.

    We need something more efficient like PowerVR to take us to the next level.

    Less brute force and more finesse.
    Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    Are you waiting to update your test system until the SATA port issue is corrected? Seems to me that anyone wanting to buy this card would also be using an overclocked 2600K... According to the Bench numbers, the 2600K offers roughly 30% more frames than the 920, depending on the game. That indicates to me that your test system is insufficient to properly test this card.

    Granted, since the vast majority of displays are fixed at 60Hz, fps counts beyond that don't really matter, but I have to wonder what impact this would have on folks with 120Hz-native LCDs. That extra 30% could make the difference.

    ... just sayin'. :)
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    At this point we're waiting on SNB-E. SNB is very nice, but for a GPU testbed the lack of PCIe bandwidth is an issue. Reply

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