Performance Comparison: Cat 5.11 vs. Cat 5.12

The first thing we wanted to look at is the difference in scaling between driver versions. The following tables will show percent performance improvement of the beta 5.12 driver over that of the 5.11 driver. We will show performance improvements for both single and dual core configurations when moving to the beta driver.

While these numbers are, in fact, what users of single or dual core systems will experience when upgrading to newer drivers, there are other useful bits of information we can extract from them. We will be keeping an eye out for cases where the 5.12 driver performs worse than the 5.11 driver (these will be negative percentages in our tables). If, for instance, one tests shows the 5.12 driver doing worse in a single core platform and better in a dual core platform, we can discount some of the "value" of the dual core performance improvement as it's just making up for the performance hit on the single core side.

And as we can see from our Battlefield 2 test, The 5.11 driver performs as good as the 5.12 driver with no AA in 3 out of 6 tests. In the 8x6 case, the 5.11 driver handily bests the 5.12 beta. Enabling dual core allows the 5.12 driver to make up more than the ground it looses in single core performance, but the trade off just doesn't look good from this test.

Battlefield 2 Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core -9.19 -0.41 0.84
Dual Core 10.63 2.67 -0.21

And if you didn't think things could get worse, then just glance at the next table. The 5.12 driver tanks across the board on 4xAA performance under BF2. There isn't much more to say about this one.

Battlefield 2 4xAA Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core -5.05 -2.87 -0.89
Dual Core -4.42 -0.15 -1.17

Without AA, playing DoD:S, the 5.12 driver performs almost identically to the 5.11 driver on single core systems. Flipping the switch gives us an instant boost at 8x6 and 10x12, and even a little nudge in the right direction at 1600x1200.

Day of Defeat Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 0.19 0.19 0.66
Dual Core 6.31 6.34 1.97

Enabling 4xAA doesn't seem to change much. We see a little more benefit (percentage wise) when using 5.12 under dual core in 800x600 and 1600x1200, but the gain over 5.11 at 1024x768 drops a little. Either way, Day of Defeat Source seems to show that theres definitely a little benefit to be had by upgrading dual core systems to 5.12 from 5.11 drivers.

Day of Defeat 4xAA Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 0.37 0.19 -0.27
Dual Core 6.69 4.31 2.66

There are a few cases where the 5.12 driver improves performance in FarCry over the 5.11 even without the aide of dual core. Even though we see high percentage improvement with 5.12 under dual core, some of this could be general improvements to the way ATI handles the game.

FarCry Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 0.11 3 -0.15
Dual Core 7.58 6.59 3.07

Again, even with 4xAA FarCry benefits from the 5.12 drivers in 4 out of 6 tests (with both of those tests being much more GPU limited at 1600x1200).

FarCry 4xAA Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 2.8 1.51 -1.5
Dual Core 7.26 4.92 -0.75

There isn't much to say other than there isn't any improvement under Quake 4 when upgrading to the 5.12 drivers.

Quake 4 Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 0.27 0.36 0
Dual Core 0.27 0.36 0.31

Which brings us to the test with the least change of all: Quake 4 with 4xAA.

Quake 4 4xAA Percent Increase (Cat 5.11 to 5.12)
  800x600 1024x768 1600x1200
Single Core 0.21 0.17 0
Dual Core -0.21 0 0

Now let's take a look at performance improvement from a different perspective: improvement of a dual core system over a single core system.

The Test Performance Comparison: Dual Core vs. Single Core


View All Comments

  • Pjotr - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    Why not simply show a screen shot of Task Manager after each benchmark? Then we can see approximatly how much of the second core is used by each benchmark. Reply
  • SemiconductorSlave - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    If you follow the link Amdahl's law in this artilce and then at the bottom of page follow link “Reevaluating Amdahl’s law” you see the author state,
    Amdahl's law contains ” . . . the assumption that p is independent of N, which is virtually never the case. One does not take a fixed-size problem and run it on various numbers of processors except when doing academic research; in practice, the problem size scales with the number of processors. When given a more powerful processor, the problem generally expands to make use of the increased facilities.”
    Isn’t this also what we have seen with video games, that they have always expanded to make use of the increased facilities?
  • SemiconductorSlave - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    Derek's article mentions in its conclusion, “The real benefit will come in when game developers start working on parallelizing their code as much as possible.” This article is very forgiving of ATI’s new driver as there is already significant benefits to dual core processors on Quake4 and SeriousSam2 if you are using Nvidia 81.xx drivers.
    The article, using the ATI X1800 XL with the Catalyst drivers, Quake4 showed “no performance difference or issue” in the single core to dual core tests. In an article on titled Contemporary CPUs and New Games: No Way to Delusions!, on page 6, Quake 4 is shown to run much faster on dual core using the Nvidia 81.xx drivers, as the X2 3800+ clocked 2 GHz gets 101.6 fps, and the 3500+ clocked higher at 2.2GHz achieves only 98.6 fps. The 3200+, which is clocked evenly with X2 3800+ at 2Ghz, only achieved 93.4 fps, which means the dual core produced an 8% gain.
    Also, on page 5, Serious Sam2 is shown running faster on dual cores, as the X2 3800+ clocked at 2 GHz achives103.1 fps beating out the 3800+ clocked at 2.4 GHz which achieved 99.2! The 3200+ clocked evenly with X2 3800+ at 2Ghz only achieved 84.8 fps. This indicates the dual core produced a 17.7% gain! The author notes on this test, “I have to point out NVIDIA drivers also started supporting dual-core architectures. ForceWare version 81.xx allows enjoying the advantages of dual-core technology in DirectX as well as in OpenGL.”
    And to rule out that having two times the cache on an X2 is the reason for the performance difference, you can directly compare the equally clocked 4000+ to the X24600+. Each are clocked at 2.4 GHz and have a total of 1Mb cache. In Quake4 the X2 gets 110.2 while the 4000+ only achieved 103.2, which is still a 6.35% difference.
    I think it would be great if this article is appended or these facts are included in the update. The end user should know what dual core performance is available to them now, not think that because ATI wrote a less than successful driver that we have to wait for the game developers before we see any significant dual core benefits!

    Semiconductor Manufacturer and Anandtech fan.
  • porkster - Monday, December 5, 2005 - link

    Ok just read the article. I thought the test was to be scheduled. Anyway, why are you only testing on an AMD system and why no sign of Black&White2, one of the new era of games that will push the bus, system and visual experience? Also Intel are the kings on multitasking and bus bandwidth so why test dual core drivers and speed % differences on an AMD?

    Surely a driver that has two cpu threads going will require more bandwidth on the bus when expected to move upto twice the amount of graphic files around tot he gfx card.

    Can you please test a game that is modern like B&W2 in the future and put at high res. Compare the benefits between the market products. Show results on bandwidth demand and their effect whilst multitasking the system.

    It seems Anandtech is falling behind the times due to bias towards AMD. It maybe ok to fool the majority of system owners that still have low PC-memory ratings and legacy AMD stuff thinking they're modern, but you portray your site has a leading tech reviewer. Please show the best of, not best of frame rates for non multitasking environments running an old tech wise game.
  • DrZoidberg - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link


    It maybe ok to fool the majority of system owners that still have low PC-memory ratings and legacy AMD stuff thinking they're modern, but you portray your site has a leading tech reviewer.

    Most of the readers here that have dual core systems have AMD X2 processors. AMD is faster at games than Intel so it is totally appropriate for AT to test using AMD first. AMD is not legacy, its more the general public still view Intel as the performance leader based on their processors several years ago and still clueless that AMD have now taken over.

    Sure AT should now test using Intel processors just for knowledge sake but i bet performance % is similar to AMD like 1%-10%.

    Quake 4 is new just came out recently, DOD source is recent, Battlefield 2 is a popular game many people play it, B&W2 would be nice but COD2 is the game really missing here.

  • porkster - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    Actually you maybe wrong regarding AMD best for gaming, as an example compare the results on this test to"> Reply
  • DrZoidberg - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - link

    Why have u provided a link showing motherboards for Intel at games and no AMD motherboards?
    What does that prove? That one particular Intel chipset motherboard is better than another Intel motherboard?

    This is a more appropriate article:">benchmarks

    Battlefield 2
    Pentium D 830 (3ghz) 92.1 fps
    Intel Yonah (upcoming Intel processor) 103.3 fps
    AMD X2 4200+ 120.8 fps

  • porkster - Wednesday, December 7, 2005 - link

    Compare the results for the Farcry from this test results to the one I linked to.

    The Intel system is far better yet it's not using the dual core style gfx drivers yet.

    I'm starting to think Anandtech doesn't want to compare latest games between the best of AMD and Intel as Intel will show it's better, especially at maintaining FPS during multitasking.
  • SemiconductorSlave - Wednesday, December 7, 2005 - link

    Like in these 4 benchmarks?">

    "We have Firefox loaded with all 13 tabs from our new suite test, iTunes is running and playing a playlist, and Newsleecher is downloading headers. We kept Newsleecher in this test simply because it's the best way for us to be able to have a fairly CPU/disk intensive downloading task running in the background while still maintaining some semblance of repeatability." --Anand Lal Shimpi
  • porkster - Thursday, December 8, 2005 - link

    TALK ABOUT OLD REVIEW. Sorry, be relative. Reply

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