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Rather than use a timedemo, I tested Crysis by playing the game and using FRAPS to record frame rates. Because this way of doing things can introduce a lot of variation from one run to the next, I tested each card in five 60-second gameplay sessions.

Also, I've chosen a new area for testing Crysis. This time, I'm on a hillside in the recovery level having a firefight with six or seven of the bad guys. As before, I've tested at two different settings, with the game's "High" quality presets and with its "Very high" ones, also.

We've clearly moved to the more difficult portion of our program. Both AMD and Nvidia have managed to squeeze additional performance out of Crysis using two GPUs, but neither company has had much success with three GPUs or more. At both quality levels we tested, Nvidia has the upper hand in dual-GPU performance, which means even the GeForce 9800 GX2—an older breed of dual-GPU graphics card—outperforms the 4870 X2.

Assassin's Creed
There has been some controversy surrounding the PC version of Assassin's Creed, but I couldn't resist testing it, in part because it's such a gorgeous, well-produced game. Also, hey, I was curious to see how the performance picture looks for myself. The originally shipped version of this game can take advantage of the Radeon HD 3000- and 4000-series GPUs' DirectX 10.1 capabilities to get a frame rate boost with antialiasing, and as you may have heard, Ubisoft chose to remove the DX10.1 path in an update to the game. I chose to test the game without this patch, leaving DX10.1 support intact.

I used our standard FRAPS procedure here, five sessions of 60 seconds each, while free-running across the rooftops in Damascus. All of the game's quality options were maxed out, and I had to edit a config file manually in order to enable 4X AA at this resolution.

Here's another game where two GPUs can help, but additional ones just get in the way. This time around, though, the Radeons clearly have the upper hand, no doubt due in part to their support for this game's optimized antialiasing performance with DirectX 10.