Getting the Most Out of GCN: Driver Improvements

With the launch of any new architecture there’s still a lot of room for improvement on the part of driver developers, and GCN is no exception. On January 20th AMD released the first driver update for the 7000 Series, which brought with it an interesting mix of bug fixes, new features, and performance improvements. On the feature side AMD enabled support for Analytical Anti-Aliasing and Super Sample Anti-Aliasing for DX10+ games, an overdue feature that we’re very happy to see finally make it to AMD cards. Meanwhile on the performance side the new drivers improved the performance of the 7000 series in several games. Game performance typically rises slowly over time, but as this is one of the first post-launch driver releases, the gains are larger than what we’re used to seeing farther down the line.

To get an idea of where performance has improved and by how much, we reran our entire benchmark suite on the 7970.

As to be expected, at this point in time AMD is mostly focusing on improving performance on a game-by-game basis to deal with games that didn’t immediately adapt to the GCN architecture well, while the fact that they seem to be targeting common benchmarks first is likely intentional. Crysis: Warhead is the biggest winner here as minimum framerates in particular are greatly improved; we’re seeing a 22% improvement at 1920, while at 2560 there’s still an 11% improvement. Metro:2033 and DiRT 3 also picked up 10% or more in performance versus the release drivers, while Battlefield 3 has seen a much smaller  2%-3% improvement. Everything else in our suite is virtually unchanged, as it looks like AMD has not targeted any of those games at this time.

As one would expect, a result of these improvements the performance lead of the 7970 versus the GTX 580 has widened. The average lead for the 7970 is now 19% at 1920 and 26% at 2560, with the lead approaching 40% in games like Metro that specifically benefited from this update. At this point the only game the 7970 still seems to have trouble pulling well ahead of the GTX 580 is Battlefield 3, where the lead is only 8%.

AMD's Radeon HD 7950 Meet the Sapphire HD 7950 Overclock Edition
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  • Galidou - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    Everyone is against you but still after all that, you continue to beleive in whatever nonsense you say from the beginning. Not even one person in here supported your opinions, whatever the market is, it just means one thing, you are a selfish nvidia HARDCORE fanboy who gets paid by the green goblin to speak your nonsense.....

    AMD fanboys are intense at times, but you clearly are a madman, the world would say you're wrong that you'd still beleive you're better than everyone else, but if you were, you'd be rich and not spending your time speaking on forums like this one.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    You're kidding right rarson.
    What metric do you think we should use to determine value if not through precedence.

    If you're questioning using precedent as a metering stick for value. Hell even the legal system uses precedents to try and determine law, but to you it's not good enough for video cards.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    yea based on old nods. new nods bring cheaper parts with better performence. THATS WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    So the 5870 was priced according to the competition.

    No you're full of shit because new cards always bring better performence for the price.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    Actually you fail to use logic plenty of times in your arguments. Also I call your consistency in to question.

    Like for instance, the simple fact that new nods= cheaper performence, not better performence that scales with price.

    Not sure why you cannot get that simple bit of logic figured out.
    Reply
  • Deo Domuique - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - link

    Hey chizow, your comments kept me eventually away from buying the 7950. I use 12 years gaming PCs and always I had Nvidia. This time would be the first that I'd go to AMD's camp.

    Although, I already had too many concerns ( especially the high price ), I could't keep myself. But finally, I did. I'll wait for Kepler. If the 7950's price currently was 320-330€ and not 410€, right now I'd have already the card.
    Reply
  • Apis - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    They are currently dropping the prices for the 7xxx series, I'm found one sapphire 7950 3gb for 360€ when looking right now. Reply
  • Apis - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - link

    In this "Compute: Civilization V" benchmark Radeon HD 5870 got 154.9 FPS
    In the 6970 review, http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-... the 5870 got 181.9 FPS.

    Why the regression?
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Traditionally Nvidia's hardware has smashed AMD's for Folding, but it looks like PROBABLY the 7970 and 7950 should be respectable with the new architecture...

    I can't actually find ANYONE talking about the issue though or benchmarking...
    Reply

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