|Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC GV-N480SO-15I|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 22 December 2010|
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3DMark Vantage Performance Tests
3DMark Vantage is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX 10 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system's 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.
There are two graphics tests in 3DMark Vantage: Jane Nash (Graphics Test 1) and New Calico (Graphics Test 2). The Jane Nash test scene represents a large indoor game scene with complex character rigs, physical GPU simulations, multiple dynamic lights, and complex surface lighting models. It uses several hierarchical rendering steps, including for water reflection and refraction, and physics simulation collision map rendering. The New Calico test scene represents a vast space scene with lots of moving but rigid objects and special content like a huge planet and a dense asteroid belt.
At Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, 3DMark is a reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.
1680x1050 is rapidly becoming the new 1280x1024. More and more widescreen are being sold with new systems or as upgrades to existing ones. Even in tough economic times, the tide cannot be turned back; screen resolution and size will continue to creep up. Using this resolution as a starting point, the maximum settings were applied to 3DMark Vantage include 8x Anti-Aliasing, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, all quality levels at Extreme, and Post Processing Scale at 1:2.
3DMark Vantage GPU Test: Jane Nash
Our first test shows the Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC clearly besting all of the single-GPU cards we have in this test. The Radeon HD 5870 card is a factory overclocked PCS+ unit from PowerColor, so it's an Oranges-to-Oranges comparison. In DX10 synthetics, the 1600 stream processors of the top Cypress GPU model had ruled the roost for awhile. All of the dual-GPU pairs beat the fastest single-GPU cards, by a big margin. The GTX 460 SLI combo really stands out here, and you better get used to it... This is a matched pair of MSI Cyclone cards, and they perform very well, even with the mild factory OC of 725MHz on the core. This is where you can see the advantage the GF104 GPU has over the first Fermi chips, which has now been ported over to the GF110 GPU in the new 5xx series from NVIDIA.
At 1920x1200 native resolution, things are much the same as the lower screen size; just the absolute values are lower, the ranking stays the same. BTW, the order of the bars, from left to right is based on current cost of the products. Only the sub-$300 cards seemed choppy at times, as most of them managed to break free from the 30 FPS visual barrier. There is quite a price range represented here, from a low of $210 on the left to a high of $580 on the right. Oddly enough, if you take the e-tail prices and divide them by ten, you get a rough estimate of the frame rate in this benchmark. Unfortunately, the odd man out in that calculation is the GTX 480...
Let's take a look at test #2 now, which has a lot more surfaces to render, with all those asteroids flying around the doomed planet New Calico.
3DMark Vantage GPU Test: New Calico
In the medium resolution New Calico test, the MSI N460GTX Cyclone SLI set does so well that it edges out the AMD HD 6870 CrossFireX pair with standard clocks. Once again, the GTX 480 beats all comers that only have a single GPU to keep warm, but it's just that the GTX460 seems to get a boost from this benchmark. In this test, it takes a $400 graphics solution to get over 30 FPS in this 1680x1050 benchmark, which shows how tough this medium resolution test really is. With two cards running in tandem though, you are well over the hump.
At the higher screen resolution of 1920x1200, the Gigabyte GTX 480 Super Over Clock card, with its substantial factory OC finally hits the wall and just manages to dip below 30 FPS. The GTX 460 SLI set kicks butt one more time, and ties with the HD 6870 CrossFireX pair again. This benchmark suite may have recently been replaced with DX11-based tests, but in the fading days of DX10 it has been a very reliable and challenging benchmark for high-end video cards.
We need to look at some actual gaming performance to verify these results, so let's take a look in the next section, at how these cards stack up in the standard bearer for DX10 gaming benchmarks, Crysis.