Crysis: Warhead

Kicking things off as always is Crysis: Warhead, still one of the toughest games in our benchmark suite. Even three years since the release of the original Crysis, “but can it run Crysis?” is still an important question, and for three years the answer was “no.” Dual-GPU halo cards can now play it at Enthusiast settings at high resolutions, but for everything else max settings are still beyond the grasp of a single card.

Crysis is often a bellwether for overall performance; if that’s the case here, then NVIDIA and the GTX 590 is not off to a good start at the all-important resolution of 2560x1600.

AMD gets some really good CrossFire scaling under Crysis, and as a result the 6990 has no problem taking the lead here. At a roughly 10% disadvantage it won’t make or break the game for NVIDIA, but given the similar prices they don’t want to lose too many games.

Meanwhile amongst NVIDIA’s own stable of cards, the stock GTX 590 ends up slightly underperforming the GTX 570 SLI. As we discussed in our look at theoretical numbers, the GTX 590’s advantage/disadvantage depends on what the game in question taxes the most. Crysis is normally shader and memory bandwidth heavy, which is why the GTX 590 never falls too far behind with its memory bandwidth advantage. EVGA’s mild overclock is enough to close the gap however, delivering identical performance. A further overclock can improve performance some more, but surprisingly not by all that much.

The minimum framerate ends up looking better for NVIDIA. The GTX 590 is still behind the 6990, but now it’s only by about 5%, while the EVGA GTX 590 squeezes past by all of .1 frame per second.

OCP Refined, A Word On Marketing, & The Test BattleForge


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  • buhusky - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    anybody else remember back in the era when pentiums just kept getting bigger & hotter every year? i wonder when they'll start making gpus smaller, cooler, quieter like they finally ended up doing with CPUs Reply
  • krumme - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    Yeaa, then this card is on of the first Pentium3 1Ghz Reply
  • ryan1e - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    no offense anandtech, but this card is aimed squarely at the bleeding edge consumers much like the amd 6990 is. to that extent, any video card can only add performance to a system with respect to how much the system can deliver on the cpu side. as for the base system itself, it's a basic rig, nothing spectacular now. the gtx 590 and the amd 6990 restively would both perform better, and your results would prove more the limitations and capabilities of those cards if they were being run on the platforms they were targeted for. an example of what i mean: tom's hardware used a test platform based on an intel i7-990x OC to 4ghz paired to an asus rampage III formula mb vs. anandtech's older i7-920 clocked at 3.33 ghz paired to an asus rampage II extreme mb. the review from toms hardware nvidia's gtx 590 and amd's 6990 both performed far better than on anand's rig, but still similar overall. personally, i think i'll stick with my sli gtx 580 oc water cooled setup for performanceand get an upgrade for my cpu, neither the 6990 or 590 in any configuration is worth the expense for the miniscule gain in performance on the graphics side. Reply
  • mino - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    One word: comparability. Reply
  • mino - Saturday, March 26, 2011 - link

    Another important review from AT, another biased review from AT. GRRR.
    - AT chooses NOT TO overclock HD6990 BUT presents un-overclocked results as HD6990 OC
    Yeah, it could embarrass our masters if AMD's built-to-overclock card was presented deemed overclockable

    - "The GTX 590 simply embarrasses the 6990 here; it’s not even a contest."
    Yeah, 4dB is no contest, embarrassment, of course. It is AMD's card after all. (it is louder, no question there)

    PR mercenaries at their best. Lets brace ourselves for another round of PR warfare when BD and Llano launch ...
  • nitrousoxide - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Don't you know that noise level goes by factor of 10 with 10dB increase? Do the math, and you will find 6990 2 times louder than 590. Indeed it's no contest. You can check out Linus Tech Tips' video review you Youtube. 6990 is definitely much, much louder than 590.

    The article itself isn't biased. 6990 and 590 have similar win-some-lose-some situation just like most cards at similar price range (570 vs. 6970, 560 vs. 6950, 460 vs. 6850 etc.) Darn it's impossible to have a real card king these days when both NV and AMD are paying developers for optimization.
  • OblivionLord - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    Anyone know what case was used in this test because if different cases were used then that could affect the temp chart. Reply
  • ryedizzel - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    another excellent and incredibly thorough article. this is why i come back to Anandtech time and time again for the "real" story. thank you and please keep up the good work! :) Reply
  • trogthefirst - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    Actually if i wanted near the top gaming performance i would just fork out for 2 x HD 6950s, crossfire and possibly unlock them as a bonus :P Tadaa! Reply
  • rav55 - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    What good is it if you can't buy it? Nvidia cherry picked the gpu's to work on this card and they could only release a little over 1000 units. It is now sold out in the US and available in limited amounts in Europe.

    Basically the GTX 590 is vapourware!!! What a joke!

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