The last new game in our benchmark suite is Civilization 5, the latest incarnation in Firaxis Games’ series of turn-based strategy games. Civ 5 gives us an interesting look at things that not even RTSes can match, with a much weaker focus on shading in the game world, and a much greater focus on creating the geometry needed to bring such a world to life. In doing so it uses a slew of DirectX 11 technologies, including tessellation for said geometry and compute shaders for on-the-fly texture decompression.

It’s also one of the few games banned at AnandTech, as “one more turn” and article deadlines are rarely compatible.

Civ 5 has given us benchmark results that quite honestly we have yet to fully appreciate. A tight clustering of results would normally indicate that we’re CPU bound, but the multi-GPU results – particularly for the AMD cards – turns this concept on its head by improving performance by 47% anyhow. The most telling results however are found in the GTX 460 cards, where there’s a clear jump in performance going form the 768MB card to the 1GB card, and again from the 1GB card to the EVGA card. The 1GB GTX only improves on memory, memory bandwidth, and ROPs, greatly narrowing down the factors. No one factor can explain our results, but we believe we’re almost simultaneously memory and geometry bound.

With that in mind, this is clearly a game that benefits NVIDIA’s GPUs right now when we’re looking at single-GPU performance. This likely comes down to NVIDIA’s greater geometry capabilities, but we’re not willing to rule out drivers quite yet, particularly when a partially CPU-bound game comes in to play. In any case NVIDIA’s advantage leads to their wiping the floor with AMD here, as even the mere GTX 460 768MB can best a 5870, let alone the 6800 series.

Crossfire changes things up, but only because NVIDIA apparently does not have a SLI profile for Civ 5 at this time.

HAWX Battlefield: Bad Company 2
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  • Targon - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Since the 6870 can not beat the 5870, shouldn't AMD leave the 5870 on the market until they have a true replacement ready? Price vs. Performance is one thing, but dropping their high end parts and replacing them with mid-range cards($200ish) just doesn't have the "Wow!" factor that helps drive sales across the price ranges. Reply
  • Jansen - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    That would be the 6900 series next month:
    http://www.dailytech.com/Radeon+6800+Series+Launch...
    Reply
  • Kyanzes - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Just to be on the safe side I'd like to see minimum FPS results. Although there's very little doubt in my mind that it underperforms. Reply
  • animekenji - Saturday, December 25, 2010 - link

    It doesn't underperform. HD6970 replaces HD5870. HD6870 will be replacing HD5770, which it vastly outperforms. What about the new numbering scheme don't you get? Reply
  • Onyx2291 - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    If I had a job and the money, one of these would be on it's way to my house right now. Reply
  • Doctor_Possum - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    One of these is on it's way to my house right now. Can't wait. Reply
  • Onyx2291 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Over a year later, and one is now on it's way to my house right now :D Reply
  • Rasterman - Thursday, October 21, 2010 - link

    Ok nVidia, ATI, Intel, enough with the shitty naming of your devices, a 5870 beats a 6870? Really? I mean come on! Really? Create a committee to agree on a group of benchmarks the result of which is what you get to name your card. Score 100, you now have the Radeon 100, score 340, you now have a GeForce 340. Reply
  • Fleeb - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Though I must agree with you, AMD gave a reason why they did that (marketing perspective) - they are not going to drop 5770 and 5750 yet but replace 5870 and 5850 with 6970 and 6950. Perhaps everything will go back to normal again in the 7xxx series. Reply
  • bennyg - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    Maybe if it were something like 6810 and 6830 there wouldn't be so many complaints.

    But the wider issue is the quasi-quantitative naming schemes in general, they'll never be a perfectly accurate representation of "performance" (or "value for money" or whatever other metric that every individual buyer interprets it to be)

    There'll never be any standard like that, marketing needs wiggle-room that independently-derived pure numbers do not provide. So they'll never agree to it.
    Reply

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