|PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 20 March 2011|
Page 15 of 19
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 PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 with another massive lead. I never thought that AMD would get the measure of this tessellation torture test, but the HD 6900 series does very well here. Even in the "normal" tessellation mode, this is a graphics test that really shows off the full impact of this DirectX 11 technology. The first generation Fermi architecture has so much more computing power designated for and available for tessellation, that it's no small surprise to see the GTX 480 doing so well here against several multi-GPU setups. The HD 6990 takes the crown of Heaven 2.1 by leaps and bounds here, though.
There is no jerkiness to the display at this resolution with the top GPUs represented here; 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 excellent performance of the PowerColor Radeon HD 6990, relative to all of the other cards in this test. There's no denying that the Fermi chip is a killer when called upon for tessellation duty, but the HD 6900 series does surprisingly well in this benchmark. The GTX 460 SLI combination comes in second place, and the single GPU GTX 480 narrowly leads the HD 6870 and HD 5870 CrossFireX pairs. It's really a three way tie for third place, they are so close. I honestly never thought that AMD could beat out NVIDIA on this test, because the Fermi chips are so aggressive in their tessellation performance, but that Cayman GPU really loves tearing up the streets of Heaven.
In our next section, we investigate the thermal performance of the PowerColor Radeon HD6990 video card, and see how well this brand new reference cooler design works when forced to do double duty on AMD's top GPU.