|PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 10 January 2011|
Page 16 of 20
Unigine Heaven 2.1 Benchmark Results
The Unigine "Heaven 2.1" 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 "Heaven" benchmark excels at the following key features:
Starting off with a lighter load of 4x MSAA, we see the Gigabyte GTX 480 SOC taking the single GPU crown by a large margin. Even in the "normal" tessellation mode, this is a graphics test that really shows off the full impact of this DirectX 11 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. The same goes for the GTX 460 SLI combo, which ekes out a first place finish in this test. The HD 6870, with its revamped tessellation engine, gets within striking distance of the HD 5870 in single-GPU mode and nips past it by less than one FPS when they're both in CrossFireX mode. I'm amazed that it does this with only the same number of shaders as the Radeon HD 5830. There is no jerkiness to the display with any of the multi-GPU pairs at this resolution; now that I've seen the landscape go by for a couple hundred times, I can spot the small stutters pretty 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 Cyclone, relative to all of the other cards. 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 GTX 480 SOC also gains some in this test; it advances to second place in these rankings, compared to fourth place when we had MSAA cranked down to 4x. Besides the most obvious trend of the GTX 460 SLI grabbing first place more often than not, the other thing I've noticed is a consistent improvement in performance by the GTX 480 when the going gets tough.
In our next section, we investigate the thermal performance of the PowerColor PCS+ HD6870 1GB GDDR5 video card, and see how well this non-reference cooler works on this new class of GPU that sits between the old Cypress and Juniper form factors.