|ASUS Radeon EAH5870 V2 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 13 June 2010|
Page 16 of 20
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Benchmark Results
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfolds shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control. According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched. Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine's Security Service sends their agent into the Zone center.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP is developed on X-Ray game engine v.1.6, and implements several ambient occlusion (AO) techniques including one that AMD has developed. AMD's AO technique is optimized to run on efficiently on Direct3D11 hardware. It has been chosen by a number of games (e.g. BattleForge, HAWX, or the new Aliens vs. Predator) for the distinct effect in it adds to the final rendered images. This AO technique is called HDAO which stands for ‘High Definition Ambient Occlusion' because it picks up occlusions from fine details in normal maps.
Within the limits imposed by the NVIDIA cards that don't support DirectX 11, we can turn the settings on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat all the way up. We're using SSAO, one of the technologies that first made its appearance in DirectX 10. In the first test, with SSAO turned on in Default Mode, and Quality set to High, we see a drastic performance advantage with the ATI boards. As an example, the HD5850 burns up the screen with 70% better performance than a mildly overclocked and more expensive GTX285. Apparently, SSAO really hates the GTX platform, or vice versa. Despite NVIDIA's earlier insistence that DX11 is largely unnecessary, their performance on one of the key enabling technologies of DX10 is also less than compelling. The overclock of the Radeon HD 5870 didn't have as much effect in this benchmark. For an 18% increase in GPU clock, we only got a 9% increase in frames per second.
Once we turn on DirectX 11, we're left with only Radeon GPUs to test with. There's a fairly even step up from one card to the next, similar to what you see in a synthetic benchmark. Overclocking of the GPU with DX11 gave about the same result as with DirectX10, a 9% improvement. The HD 5870 handles this game comfortably at 1920 x 1200 resolution, with the highest settings. With anything less than a 5850, some compromises will be required to get smooth game play. In an earlier article, we showed that MSAA imposes a serious penalty in this game, so that would be the most obvious knob to turn down.
In our next section, we investigate the thermal performance of the Radeon HD5830, and see how hot this fully loaded Cypress GPU runs with the full-copper heatpipe cooler that ASUS paired it with.