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Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ Video Card
Closer Look: PowerColor PCS HD 6870
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis
DX10: Just Cause 2
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: H.A.W.X. 2
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: METRO 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Final Thoughts
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Conclusion

METRO 2033 DX11 Benchmark Results

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror, and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows. Metro 2033 uses the 4A game engine, developed by 4A Games. The 4A Engine supports DirectX-9, 10, and 11, along with NVIDIA PhysX and GeForce 3D Vision.

The 4A engine is multi-threaded in that only PhysX has a dedicated thread, and it uses a task-model without any pre-conditioning or pre/post-synchronizing, thus allowing tasks to be done in parallel. The 4A game engine can utilize a deferred shading pipeline, and uses tessellation for greater performance, and also has HDR (complete with blue shift), real-time reflections, color correction, film grain and noise, and the engine also supports multi-core rendering.

Metro 2033 featured superior volumetric fog, double PhysX precision, object blur, sub-surface scattering for skin shaders, parallax mapping on all surfaces and greater geometric detail with a less aggressive LODs. Using PhysX, the engine uses many features such as destructible environments, and cloth and water simulations, and particles that can be fully affected by environmental factors.


NVIDIA has been diligently working to promote Metro 2033, and for good reason: it is the most demanding PC video game we've ever tested. When an overclocked GeForce GTX 480 struggles to produce 29 FPS, you know that only the strongest graphics processors will generate playable frame rates. All of my tests use the in-game benchmark that was added to the game as DLC earlier this year. Advanced Depth of Field and Tessellation effects are enabled, but the advanced PhysX option is disabled to provide equal load to both AMD and NVIDIA cards. All tests are run with 4x MSAA, which produces the highest load of the two anti-aliasing choices.


We're back to a step increase in performance again, when two cards are harnessed together. The GTX 460 pair gets the top spot again with an average frame rate of 31.6 FPS, and the GTX 480 SOC from Gigabyte holds down second place with a respectable 29.0 FPS. That may sound low, but METRO 2033 is a punishing graphics load, and that's a very good result for a single card. The PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ does very well in both single and multi-GPU arrangements. It doesn't scale as well as the GTX460 does in SLI, a trait that also affects the HD 5870. Once again, PhysX is disabled for all testing, although it only extracted about a 2 FPS penalty when it was enabled with an NVIDIA card installed. IMHO, the minor hit in frame rates is fully justified in terms of the additional realism that PhysX imparts to the gameplay. It adds a lot more than any amount of anti-aliasing, no matter what type...


At the higher screen resolution of 1920x1200, the step gets a little smaller as the multi-GPU scaling factors lose some steam. Once that happens, the GTX 480 SOC has an advantage and it pulls down the top spot in this test by a margin of 7% over the second place finisher, a pair of HD 5870 cards running at stock clocks of 850/1200. These are barely playable frame rates; it takes a bigger card than we have in the mix today to play this game with all the stops pulled out.

In our next section, we are going to complete our DirectX 11 testing with a look at an unusual DX11 benchmarks, straight from mother Russia and the studios of Unigine. Their latest benchmark is called "Heaven", and it has some very interesting and non-typical graphics. So, let's take a peek at what Heaven v2.1 looks like.

Graphics Card


Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock



MSI GeForce GTX 460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC)





1.0 GB GDDR5


PowerColor PCS+ HD 6870 (AX6870 1GBD5-PP2DH)





1.0 GB GDDR5


PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 (PCS+ AX5870 1GBD5-PPDHG2)





1.0 GB GDDR5


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 (GV-N480SO-15I Super Over Clock)





1536 MB GDDR5



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