Batman: Arkham City
We did a little Batman-style free running through the rooftops of Gotham for this one.
Several factors converged to make us choose these settings. One of our goals in preparing this article was to avoid the crazy scenario we had in our GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 review, where every card tested could run nearly every game adequately. The Radeon HD 7970 is a pretty pricey bit of hardware, and we wanted to push it to its limits, not watch it tie a bunch of other cards for adequacy. So we cranked up the resolution and image quality and, yes, even enabled DirectX 11. We had previously avoided using DX11 with this game because the initial release had serious performance problems on pretty much any video card. A patch has since eliminated the worst problems, and the game is now playable in DX11, so we enabled it.
This choice made sense for benchmarking ultra high-end graphics cards, I think. I have to say, though, that the increase in image quality with DX11 tessellation, soft shadows, and ambient occlusion isn't really worth the performance penalty you'll pay. The image quality differences are hard to see; the performance differences are abundantly obvious. This game looks great and runs very smoothly at 2560x1600 in DX9 mode, even on a $250 graphics card.
As you can see, all of the cards produce some long frame times; the frame time plots are more jagged than in Skyrim. This will make for an interesting comparison. Also, it's pretty clear the Radeon HD 5870 is overmatched here, even with 2GB of video RAM onboard.
We've found that average FPS and 99th percentile frame times don't always track together, especially when there are wide swings in frame times involved, like we have here. However, in this case, they mirror each other pretty closely. All of the cards seem to have some long frame times in relatively proportional measure. Thus, in both FPS and 99th percentile latency, the Radeon HD 7970 manages to outperform the GeForce GTX 580 by a small margin.
The 7970's slight edge holds when we turn our attention toward longer-latency frames. The new Radeon is the only card of the bunch to spend less than half a second working on rendering frames beyond 50 ms. The GTX 580 isn't far behind, though.
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