|ASUS ENGTX580 GeForce GTX 580 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 22 November 2010|
Page 14 of 19
DX11: Tom Clancy's HAWX2
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2 has been optimized for DX11 enabled GPUs and has a number of enhancements to not only improve performance with DX11 enabled GPUs, but also greatly improve the visual experience while taking to the skies. The game uses a hardware terrain tessellation method that allows a high number of detailed triangles to be rendered entirely on the GPU when near the terrain in question. This allows for a very low memory footprint and relies on the GPU power alone to expand the low resolution data to highly realistic detail.
The Tom Clancy's HAWX2 benchmark uses normal game content in the same conditions a player will find in the game, and allows users to evaluate the enhanced visuals that DirectX-11 tessellation adds into the game. The Tom Clancy's HAWX2 benchmark is built from exactly the same source code that's included with the retail version of the game. HAWX2's tessellation scheme uses a metric based on the length in pixels of the triangle edges. This value is currently set to 6 pixels per triangle edge, which provides an average triangle size of 18 pixels.
The end result is perhaps the best tessellation implementation seen in a game yet, providing a dramatic improvement in image quality over the non-tessellated case, and running at playable frame rates across a wide range of graphics hardware.
Tom Clancy's HAWX2 Extreme Quality Settings
Cost Analysis: Tom Clancy's HAWX2 (1920x1200)
Test Summary: This is a controversial game, at least in the sense that AMD has asked us not to use it for testing (which is why it wasn't included in the AMD Radeon 6850 and 6870 reviews) but NVIDIA endorses it. Our thinking is that HAWX 2 is a full retail product that will be purchased and played by consumers, regardless of how well Radeon products handle its tessellation. Tom Clancy's HAWX2 works incredibly well with the tessellation-optimized Fermi architecture, finally making NVIDIA's effort more transparent. Despite this benefit to GF100-series products, the game is primarily comprised of clear blue skies that require very little processing power. As a result, even a single AMD Radeon HD 6870 produces 68 FPS at 1920x1200.
When HAWX2 is turned up to use the highest possible quality settings with terrain tessellation enabled, the ASUS GeForce GTX 580 video card easily surpasses every product tested against it. Oddly enough, the newer but less-powerful AMD Radeon HD 6870 performs better than the older and more expensive ATI Radeon HD 5870: 10-FPS at 1680x1050 and 8-FPS at 1920x1200. This proves that AMD gave tessellation a little more emphasis on the Barts GPU (Cypress refresh), but doesn't give it enough power for two Radeon HD 6870's in CrossFire to do more than match performance with the GeForce GTX 470. Another twist is demonstrated by over-emphasized tessellation power of GF100 in NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 480, which gives it the strength to compete with the new GTX 580. Using Voltage Tweak, the overclocked ENGTX580 matches performance with a pair of overclocked GTX 460's.