|MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 24 September 2010|
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Unigine Heaven Benchmark
The Unigine "Heaven 2.0" benchmark is a free, publicly available, tool that grants the power to unleash the graphics capabilities in DirectX-11 for Windows 7 or updated Vista Operating Systems. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode, emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.
The distinguishing feature in the Unigine Heaven benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces, so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand. The "Heaven" benchmark excels at providing the following key features:
Starting off with a lighter load of 4x MSAA, we see a steady progression of performance as you move up the ATI 5xxx ladder. Stuck there in the middle of the chart are two results that show a clear distinction between the two competing architectures. Even in the "normal" tessellation mode, this is a graphics test that really shows off the full effect of the new technology. The Fermi architecture has so much more computing power designated and available for tessellation, that it's no small surprise to see the card doing so well here. There is still some jerkiness to the display with all of the cards; now that I've seen the landscape go by for a couple hundred times, I can spot the small stutters more easily. This test was run with 4x anti-aliasing; let's see how the cards stack up when we increase MSAA to the maximum level of 8x.
Increasing the anti-aliasing just improved the already convincing performance of the MSI N460GTX HAWK, relative to the Radeon HD 5xxx series. It's interesting to note that the HD 5850 doesn't stand out so much with this benchmark; everywhere else, it seems to jump a little higher than its Radeon neighbors. There's no denying that the Fermi chip, in its best interpretation yet: the GF104, is a killer when called upon for tessellation duty. The only caveat is that the 768MB version did not do as well with 8X MSAA enabled. Remember, the reduction in memory size comes with a corresponding reduction in memory bandwidth, and the number of ROP units that are enabled. That's probably what killed its performance in this particular test, not the actual amount of GDDR5 RAM available.
Let's take a look at one more DX11 benchmark, a decidedly less cheerful scenario in a post-apocalyptic "Zone", which is traversed by mercenary guides called Stalkers.