|PowerColor Radeon HD5850 PCS+ Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 28 January 2010|
Page 6 of 17
3DMark Vantage GPU Tests
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 graphics card performance. FutureMark 3DMark Vantage is the latest addition the 3DMark benchmark series built by FutureMark corporation. Although 3DMark Vantage requires NVIDIA PhysX to be installed for program operation, only the CPU/Physics test relies on this technology.
3DMark Vantage offers benchmark tests focusing on GPU, CPU, and Physics performance. Benchmark Reviews uses the two GPU-specific tests for grading video card performance: Jane Nash and New Calico. These tests isolate graphical performance, and remove processor dependence from the benchmark results.
3DMark Vantage GPU Test: Jane Nash
Of the two GPU tests 3DMark Vantage offers, the Jane Nash performance benchmark is slightly less demanding. In a short video scene the special agent escapes a secret lair by water, nearly losing her shirt in the process. Benchmark Reviews tests this DirectX 10 scene at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions, and uses Extreme quality settings with 8x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. The 1:2 scale is utilized, and is the highest this test allows. By maximizing the processing levels of this test, the scene creates the highest level of graphical demand possible and sorts the strong from the weak.
As far as 3dMark Vantage is concerned, the ATI Radeon HD 5770, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, and Radeon HD 4890 (not shown) are all less than optimal graphics solutions for 'extreme' settings like 8x AA and 16x AF. With that being the case, we'll concentrate more on the higher-level video cards. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 is just barely able to reach into decent frame rates, but doesn't add much above and beyond the GTX 260.
The reference ATI Radeon HD 5850 outperforms the overclocked ASUS GTX 285 TOP model in both resolutions, and the PowerColor Radeon HD 5850 PCS+ adds another 4 FPS on top of references performance. ATI's Radeon HD 5870 widens this lead as the most powerful single-GPU graphics card with a full 30% advantage at 1680x1050 and nearly 32% at 1920x1280. While the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 does manage to out-muscle the Radeon HD 5870, it's nowhere near the level demonstrated by the ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock video card. The dual Cypress-XT GPUs in the HD5970 offer a 33% advantage over the dual GT200 GPUs in the GeForce GTX 295, when operating at 1920x1200.
3DMark Vantage GPU Test: New Calico
New Calico is the second GPU test in the 3DMark Vantage test suite. Of the two GPU tests, New Calico is the most demanding. In a short video scene featuring a galactic battleground, there is a massive display of busy objects across the screen. Benchmark Reviews tests this DirectX 10 scene at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions, and uses Extreme quality settings with 8x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. The 1:2 scale is utilized, and is the highest this test allows. Using the highest graphics processing level available allows our test products to separate themselves and stand out (if possible).
Last year's top-end is this year's middle market graphics solution, which is why a newly released low-end Radeon HD 5770 can match brawn with the GTX 260, GTX 275, and HD4890 (not shown). The DirectX 11-compatible Cypress GPU clearly dominates the field in this test, allowing the ATI Radeon HD 5850 to easily overtake the GeForce GTX 285 by 11% at 1680x1050 and then an astonishing 27% at 1920x1200, while the factory overclocked PowerColor Radeon HD 5850 PCS+ adds nearly 2 FPS more performance over the stock ATI reference design.
The Radeon HD 5870 is well ahead of NVIDIA's GTX 285 by more than 40% at 16x10 and 46% at 19x12 resolutions. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 295 is no match for the HD5870 in the New Calico benchmark, which allows the more-powerful ATI Radeon HD 5970 to literally step over it to establish a 61% performance advantage at 1920x1200.
Although Benchmark Reviews does not include CrossFire HD5850 test results in this article, past experience has shown us that two Radeon video cards placed in CrossFire do not amount to exactly twice the performance. Under optimal circumstances and the ideal game engine, an ATI Radeon CrossFire set may provide up to 90% improvement over a single video card. In terms of confronting the claim that the ATI Radeon HD 5970 is simply a portable CrossFire 5850 alternative, the HD5970 actually appears to match the 'best case' CrossFire performance. It should be noted however, that the HD5970 was built as an enthusiast video card and designed to be overclocked beyond the specs of a HD5870.