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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  • TalonP - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    First paragraph:

    "It really doesn’t seem like it’s been all that long, but it’s been nearly a year and a half since NVIDIA has had a dual-GPU card on the market. The GeForce GTX 295 was launched in January of 2009, the first card based on the 55nm die shrink of the GT200 GPU."

    Well, shit. I thought Jan 2009 was TWO and a half years ago. I MUST GET BACK TO THE FUTURE!
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    It was on the market after its launch. so if it disappeared somewhere at the end of 09/beginning of 10 that would match the "year and a half since on the market" Reply
  • RedemptionAD - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Are there any reviews with such a setup out yet, or is it even supported? Maybe even a 3x or 4x setup? If it was a 4x 6990 setup or 590 setup could it rule the world? Reply
  • cjl - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    You can't go over 4 GPUs, so you can only SLI/CF two of the dual GPU cards. Reply
  • Nfarce - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    I'll be going with two 570's for the same price, thanks. And I can spread that pain at $350 per purchase over two months instead of one big $700 plunkdown. Reply
  • buildingblock - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    "....However the noise results are nothing short of remarkable – if NVIDIA can dissipate 350W+ of heat while at the same time making 5-7dB less noise, then it starts to become clear that AMD’s design has a serious weakness. The ultimate question is what did NVIDIA do right that AMD did not?...."

    I can't see anyone tolerating the noise level of the 6990. But the 590 is barely noisier than a 580. So an easy win for nVidia if you really need/can afford one of these monsters.
  • cactusdog - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Ya, even the 6970/6950 are hot cards. Very disappointing after a very cool and silent 5870. I think AMD had a problem with the chips and never intended for them to be so hot. Maybe they had to crank up the power to get them to run right? idk........... Reply
  • Romulous - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    This card might be good for those people out there who love to cram as many GPUs into one box as they can and run folding at home. Reply
  • smigs22 - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    Major bias with the OC listing in the charts... the OC version is not enough... but a 20+% OC is included versus the other standard configs... and the lousy flip switch OC mode of 6990... not around 940/1400+ that other sites have attained.... that offers 6970CF+ performance :s ...Why dont they show 5870/6950/6970 CF & 470/480/570/580 SLI etc with appropriate 20%+ overclocks to put these cards in their place... especially with price vs performance.... the 2gb 6950s also having the ability to be flashed into 6970s too... not bad CF for price...

    The second fastest single card out there.... but still a beast and its kept its idle power within reason... i think its time for 28nm tech asap... as the carbon taxes on these bad boys will be
  • BrightCandle - Thursday, March 24, 2011 - link

    When you do the 3x monitor review can you please include last generations top end card (5970) for comparisons. Eyefinity and co is really where it is at with this monster graphics cards and in my experience the 5970 just doesn't have the horse power to play well at 5760x1200. I would really like to see how much difference these new cards and their increased RAM actually makes.

    50% performance compared to last generation at 2560 is OK, but do they get even more distance with the higher resolution?

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