We tested Battlefield 3 with all of its DX11 goodness cranked up, including the "Ultra" quality settings with both 4X MSAA and the high-quality version of the post-process FXAA. Our test was conducted in the "Operation Guillotine" level, for 60 seconds starting at the third checkpoint.
The multi-GPU plots look... cloudy. Could prove interesting.
Notice the disparity between the FPS average and the 99th percentile frame times. Although the 7970 CrossFire config is far and away the at the top of the FPS charts, it's only slightly quicker than the GTX 690 at the 99th percentile. Why is that?
Well, both the 7970 CrossFire and the Radeon HD 6990 show a classic micro-stuttering split, as their frame times rise sharply at around the 50th percentile mark. The disparity is greater for the 6990, which looks to be more performance constrained. Even with that handicap, the 7970 CrossFire config at least matches the GTX 690 and 680 SLI across the latter half of the latency curve, which is why it still has a slight advantage at the 99th percentile. In other words, the 7970 CrossFire config is still a very competitive performer, even though it doesn't quite live up to its towering advantage in the FPS results.
The worst performer here is the GeForce GTX 590, whose last 10% of frames take between 60 and 120 milliseconds to render.
I like the filtering effect we get from these three thresholds. If you're looking to avoid real slowdowns, consider the 50-ms results, where only the 6990 and the GTX 590 really show any notable issues. At 33.3 ms, the three multi-GPU solutions from the current generation are in a class by themselves, while the Radeon HD 7970 carves out a clear advantage over the GeForce GTX 680. You're better off with either current-gen single GPU than you are with a dual-GPU card from the prior generation, though. Crank the limit down to 16.7 ms, and the ranks of the top three remain the same, but all of the other solutions look to be pretty similar.
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