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Sapphire HD4890 Toxic Vapor-X 11150-01-40R E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 09 June 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Sapphire HD4890 Toxic Vapor-X 11150-01-40R
Radeon HD 4890 Features
RV790 GPU Specifications
HD4890 Toxic Closer Look
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
COD 4 Fraps Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Far Cry 2 Benchmark
World in Conflict Benchmarks
Radeon HD 4890 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon 4000 Final Thoughts
HD4890 Toxic Conclusion

Crysis Benchmark Results

Crysis uses a new graphics engine: the CryENGINE2, which is the successor to Far Cry's CryENGINE. CryENGINE2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX10) framework of Windows Vista, but can also run using DirectX9, both on Vista and Windows XP.

Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders. To get the most out of modern multicore processor architectures, CPU intensive subsystems of CryENGINE 2 such as physics, networking and sound, have been re-written to support multi-threading.

Crysis offers an in-game benchmark tool, which is similar to World in Conflict. This short test does place some high amounts of stress on a graphics card, since there are so many landscape features rendered. For benchmarking purposes, Crysis can mean trouble as it places a high demand on both GPU and CPU resources. Benchmark Reviews uses the Crysis Benchmark Tool by Mad Boris to test frame rates in batches, which allows the results of many tests to be averaged.

The very first thing we discovered during our 1680x1050 resolution tests was how well NVIDIA products performed compared to the Radeon product line. Test results like these begin to raise the question of how unbiased games like Crysis are when they proudly proclaim "NVIDIA: The way it was meant to be played". I don't consider this to be coincidence, but at the same time it's probably also not coincidence that Crysis demands more GPU power than any other product, which was perfect for a time when AMD/ATI couldn't build a decent VGA product to save their lives (literally).

Analyzing the chart below illustrates a few distinct trends. The first is that the GeForce GTX 260 and Radeon HD 4870 (not illustrated) are virtually identical in terms of Crysis gaming performance. The second trend shows the Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Toxic going head-to-head with the overclocked GeForce GTX 285. What was most surprising is how the CrossFireX set of HD4770's didn't perform as well as we've seen in other tests, indicating that when a game demands processing power the GPU either has it or it doesn't. That point is driven home with the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295.


With only a small dose of anti-aliasing added to Crysis, there are very few products that would make for playable frame rates. Our Island time-demo mixes a some beach and water views, so it's going to be on the high side of frame rates when compared to actual game play. The results shown in the chart below illustrate (more distinctly) how well NVIDIA products scale with anti-aliasing enabled.

It would be easy to accuse NVIDIA of some level of driver code favoring, but there is one glaring piece of evidence in their defense: AMD/ATI graphic cards clearly stop post processing support at 8x AA, while modern GeForce products reach 16x Q AA before calling it quits. So with this being an undisputed fact among our test products, it makes sense to see that the GTX 285 now outperform the Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Toxic by a few frame (which is opposite of the non-AA tests). The CrossFireX set of HD4770's offered less frame rate performance than a single 8800 GT, which is bit suspicious, while the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 roars ahead of the others to define the high-end.


At the end of our Crysis testing, it was apparent that heavy post-processing effects are still an obstacle that Radeon HD video cards have yet to clear. NVIDIA probably isn't surprised to see the GTX 285 and GeForce GTX 295 make the top of our charts for performance with 4x AA enabled. It's worth noting that most products used in this review have been used in past articles and tested at-length on our X48 benchmark system, with the results being comparable all throughout to these X58 results.

Product Series NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Reference Design NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260216 Reference Design Sapphire HD4890 Toxic 11150-01-40R ASUS GeForce GTX 285 ENGTX285 TOP Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 102-B50701-10-AT CrossFireX Set NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Reference Design
Stream Processors 112 216 800 240 640 x2 480
Core Clock (MHz) 600 576 960 670 750 x2 576
Shader Clock (MHz) 1457 1242 N/A 1550 N/A 1242
Memory Clock (MHz) 950 999 1050 1300 850 x2 999
Memory Amount 512 MB GDDR3 896 MB GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR5 1024 MB GDDR3 512MB (x2) GDDR5 1024MB (x2) GDDR3
Memory Interface 256-bit 448-bit 256-bit 512-bit 256-bit 512-bit

In our next section, Benchmark Reviews tests with Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark. Read on to see how a blended high-demand GPU test with low video frame buffer demand will impact our test products.


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