GPU value in the DirectX 11 age

After tackling solid-state storage with a full value comparison earlier this month, we’re now shifting our focus to graphics. The release of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 460 has left us with a pretty complete set of performance results spanning the mid range and high end of the graphics card market. Naturally, we’ve taken those results, factored prices into the equation, and served up a slew of new value charts and scatter plots with analysis to match.

Today’s value comparison spans 11 cards with price tags ranging from around $140 to $680. Since Nvidia has yet to launch a sub-$200 DirectX 11 product, we’ll mainly be studying match-ups at $200 and upward. This exercise should help us answer questions on everyone’s lips. Is the GeForce GTX 460 1GB truly a better deal than the 768MB model and the Radeon HD 5830? Should you get a Radeon HD 5850 or a GeForce GTX 470? Are top-of-the-line cards always ripoffs? And will Lindsay Lohan serve her full 90-day jail sentence?

To get a complete picture, we’ll be looking at all of the games from our latest graphics review. Value mash-ups can be quite helpful, and we love including them at the end of our articles, but nothing beats looking at individual games and figuring out the best bang for your buck in each one. Just because a given GeForce or Radeon outmatches its competitors overall doesn’t mean it’s always the best deal, after all.

Before we start blinding you with science, we should probably detail the cards we’ll be looking at—and their prices. We kept the comparison fairly even, with five graphics cards from AMD and six cards from Nvidia:

AMD product Price Nvidia product
Radeon HD 5970 $679.99  
  $509.99 GeForce GTX 480 (factory OC)
Radeon HD 5870 $379.99  
  $299.99 GeForce GTX 470
Radeon HD 5850 $289.99  
  $239.99 GeForce GTX 465
  $229.99 GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  $204.99 GeForce GTX 260 (factory OC)
Radeon HD 5830 $199.99 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
Radeon HD 5770 $149.99  
Radeon HD 4870 1GB $139.99  

All except two of those cards, the Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260, are based on either the AMD Evergreen or the Nvidia Fermi DirectX 11 architectures. The remaining two DX10 products were included to provide a frame of reference… and also because we wanted to see if the price-performance picture had improved at all since the last generation.

Since suggested retail prices for graphics cards tend to be, well, rather loose guidelines more often than not, the prices you see above were all sourced from Newegg. The e-tailer even had Radeon HD 4870 and “factory overclocked” GeForce GTX 260 cards in stock, so we managed to avoid the uncertain waters of historical pricing. By and large, Newegg’s prices should reflect what you can expect to pay for today’s Radeons and GeForces. Except for “factory overclocked” offerings, we based our prices on the cheapest model of each card listed.

For nitty-gritty details about the cards (or Evergreen and Fermi in general), you’ll want to check our reviews, which we’ve conveniently linked them in the table above. Just click a product name to find out more

What about the games? Today’s comparison includes Aliens vs. Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Borderlands, DiRT 2, Just Cause 2, and Metro 2033. We deliberately excluded synthetic benchmarks to keep things coldly practical. To appease our more scientific impulses, we based our value data on frame rates obtained at the highest resolution tested for each title. We believe focusing on the most GPU-limited scenario is the best way to understand the differences between the cards. We’re more interested in gauging raw GPU power than making generalizations about frame rates at a hypothetical, one-size-fits-all resolution.

Our friend the scatter plot

Folks who read TR on a regular basis ought to be familiar with our scatter plots by now, but a little refresher course never hurt anybody. Charts like these, kids, are the centerpiece of our value comparisons:

Performance—in this case, frames per second—is laid out on the vertical axis, with price on the horizontal axis. Individual cards are plotted on the grid based on their price and performance. If you think about this arrangement for a second, it should follow that the best deals would be found at the top left of the graph, where price is lowest and performance is highest. The worst deals would fall at the bottom right.

We’ve yet to see such extremes, of course. When reading these plots in the real world, we can generally locate the best deals by looking at how performance progresses as we traverse the price axis. See in the scatter plot above, where there’s a rapid vertical progression from the Radeon HD 4870 through the GeForce GTX 460 1GB? Stepping up to the next two quicker cards involves big horizontal jumps and a much smaller vertical ones, signaling poorer deals. In that particular example, the GTX 460 1GB probably deserves the “sweet spot” crown.

With all that in mind, let’s take a quick look at our test setup and get to the meat of the article.

Test notes

We’ve based this piece almost entirely on results from our GeForce GTX 460 review, so our test setup is the same, with two exceptions. We’ve added a Radeon HD 5970 and a GeForce GTX 480 to represent the very high end of the market. The 5970 is a run-of-the-mill, stock-clocked card, but the GeForce GTX 480 is a different animal: a “factory-overclocked” Zotac AMP! product priced at a premium. We’ll be looking at this AMP! card in more depth in the near future.

The GeForce GTX 260 we used is also a “factory-overclocked” model; Asus gave it 650MHz core, 1400MHz shader, and 2300MT/s memory speeds. Unlike most of today’s cards, many GTX 260s used to run above stock speeds to some degree. Our Asus card was one of the highest-clocked variants you could buy, at least before DirectX 11 cards started coming out and most folks lost interest in the previous generation.

Again, all of our benchmarks were scripted except for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Metro 2033. We tested those two games by recording frame rates using FRAPS while playing through the same 60-second sequence five times for each card. The increased sample size and our efforts to make each run as similar as possible to the others should help offset the lack of precise repeatability.

Our testing methods

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and we’ve reported the median result.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core i7-965 Extreme 3.2GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte EX58-UD5
North bridge X58 IOH
South bridge ICH10R
Memory size 12GB (6 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Dominator CMD12GX3M6A1600C8

DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz

Memory timings 8-8-8-24 2T
Chipset drivers INF update 9.1.1.1025

Rapid Storage Technology 9.6.0.1014

Audio Integrated ICH10R/ALC889A

with Realtek R2.49 drivers

Graphics Radeon HD 4870 1GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

Gigabyte Radeon HD 5770 1GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

XFX Radeon HD 5830 1GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

Radeon HD 5850 1GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

Asus Radeon HD 5870 1GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

Radeon HD 5970 2GB

with Catalyst 10.6 drivers

Asus ENGTX260 TOP SP216 GeForce GTX 260 896MB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

GeForce GTX 460 768MB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

Zotac GeForce GTX 460 1GB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

Zotac GeForce GTX 465 1GB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

GeForce GTX 470 1280MB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

Zotac AMP! GeForce GTX 480 1536MB

with ForceWare 258.80 drivers

Hard drive WD Caviar SE16 320GB SATA
Power supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Watt
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition

DirectX runtime update June 2010

Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Gigabyte, and PC Power & Cooling for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. AMD, Nvidia, XFX, Asus, Sapphire, Zotac, and Gigabyte supplied the graphics cards for testing, as well.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Aliens vs. Predator

The new AvP game uses several DirectX 11 features to improve image quality and performance, including tessellation, advanced shadow sampling, and DX11-enhanced multisampled anti-aliasing. Naturally, we were pleased when the game’s developers put together an easily scriptable benchmark tool. This benchmark cycles through a range of scenes in the game, including one spot where a horde of tessellated aliens comes crawling down the floor, ceiling, and walls of a corridor.

For these tests, we turned up all of the image quality options to the max, with two exceptions. We held the line at 2X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering simply to keep frame rates in a playable range with most of these graphics cards. The use of DX11 effects ruled out the use of older, DX10-class video cards, so we’ve excluded them here.

Our AvP scatter plot shows a rather linear progression of price and performance, so we can’t really single out a value king. However, two cards do stand out as poor deals: the GeForce GTX 460 768MB and the Radeon HD 5850. The former fails to edge out the identically priced Radeon HD 5830, while the latter is outmatched by the GeForce GTX 470.

Don’t pay too much attention to the sub-20-FPS frame rates, by the way. As we said a couple of pages back, we’ve deliberately used high resolutions and detail settings to highlight raw GPU power. If you look at our GeForce GTX 460 review, you’ll see the $200 cards run Aliens vs. Predator smoothly enough at 1680×1050 with antialiasing on. You definitely don’t need a top-of-the-line GPU to enjoy this title.

Just Cause 2
JC2 has some flashy visuals courtesy of DirectX 10, and the sheer scope of the game world is breathtaking, as are the resulting view distances.

Although JC2 includes a couple of visual effects generated by Nvidia’s CUDA GPU-computing API, we’ve left those disabled for our testing. The CUDA effects are only used sparingly in the game, anyhow, and we’d like to keep things even between the different GPU brands. I do think the water simulation looks gorgeous, but I’m not so impressed by the Bokeh filter used for depth-of-field effects.

We tested performance with JC2‘s built-in benchmark, using the the “Dark Tower” sequence.

Now here’s something a little less cryptic. We have a vertical progression all the way up to the GeForce GTX 470, a card that offers a pretty sizable performance increase over its $200 cousins—not to mention the slightly cheaper Radeon HD 5850. Nvidia pretty much takes the cake here; unless you can afford the Radeon HD 5970, any GeForce will get you better performance for the money than the equivalent Radeon.

Being a DirectX 10 game, Just Cause 2 also shows us how previous-gen cards fare compared to their successors. As it turns out, our “factory overclocked” GeForce GTX 260 is a better deal than either flavor of the GeForce GTX 460. So much for progress, right? Of course, the GTX 260 won’t let you enable all the eye candy in Aliens vs. Predator and our other DX11 games, so it’s not exactly a great buy today.

DiRT 2: DX9

This excellent racer packs a scriptable performance test. We tested at DiRT 2‘s “ultra” quality presets in both DirectX 9 and Direct X 11. The big difference between the two is that the DX11 mode includes tessellation on the crowd and water. Otherwise, they’re hardly distinguishable.

DiRT 2: DX11

The Nvidia camp scores another win here. AMD does better with tessellation on than in DX9 mode, but the Radeon HD 5830 still falls a little behind the GTX 460 768MB, and the Radeon HD 5850 shadows the GTX 470. Overall, we’d say the GeForce GTX 460 1GB looks like the best deal here, because it’s markedly quicker than the $200 cards but not very far behind the $300 ones.

You might notice we’ve stepped down from 2560×1600 to 1920×1080 for our DirectX 11 numbers. As it turns out, enabling the DX11 mode increases the game’s memory footprint, which pretty much kills performance with the GeForce GTX 460 768MB. Since DiRT 2 is still very much GPU-limited at 1080p in this mode, we thought we’d give the GTX 460 768MB a fairer shot—and avoid skewing our overall average unnecessarily.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
BC2 uses DirectX 11, but according to this interview, DX11 is mainly used to speed up soft shadow filtering. The DirectX 10 rendering path produces the same images.

Since these are all relatively fast graphics cards, we turned up all of the image quality settings in the game. Our test sessions took place in the first 60 seconds of the “Heart of Darkness” level.

Would you look at that: another linear pattern, like the one we saw in Aliens vs. Predator earlier. Just like in AvP, the Radeon HD 5830 and GeForce GTX 470 win out over their closest competitors. The GTX 460 1GB is harder to justify here, though, since it’s barely any faster than the 5830.

Metro 2033

If Bad Company 2 has a rival for the title of best-looking game, it’s gotta be Metro 2033. This game uses DX10 and DX11 to create some of the best visuals on the PC today. You can get essentially the same visuals using either version of DirectX, but with DirectX 11, Metro 2033 offers a couple of additional options: tessellation and a DirectCompute-based depth of field shader. If you have a GeForce card, Metro 2033 will use it to accelerate some types of in-game physics calculations, since it uses the PhysX API. We didn’t enable advanced PhysX effects in our tests, though, since we wanted to do a direct comparison to the new Radeons. See here for more on this game’s exhaustively state-of-the-art technology.

Crysis is no longer the only game that won’t yield playable frame rates on a $200 card without lowered quality settings. We had to dial back Metro 2033‘s presets two notches from the top settings and disable the performance-assassinating advanced depth-of-field effect.

We did leave tessellation enabled on the DX11 cards. In fact, we considered leaving out the DX10 cards entirely here, since they don’t produce exactly the same visuals. However, tessellation in this game is only used in a few specific ways, and you’ll be hard pressed to see the differences during regular gameplay. Thus, we’ve provisionally included the DX10 cards for comparison, in spite of the fact that they can’t do DX11 tessellation.

It’s almost like Metro 2033‘s post-apocalyptic subway tunnels are filled with the drone of green vuvuzelas. Want a graphics card that’ll perform best in this game? Get a GeForce GTX 460 1GB, GeForce GTX 470, or GeForce GTX 480, depending on what you can afford. That’s pretty much all there is to say. Well, that and the fact that playing this game at high resolutions with the detail up will pretty much require a high-end card—possibly a top-of-the-line one… or two.

Borderlands

We tested Gearbox’s post-apocalyptic role-playing shooter by using the game’s built-in performance test. We tested with all of the in-game quality options at their max. We couldn’t enable antialiasing, because the game’s Unreal Engine doesn’t support it.

Borderlands gives us another instance where the GeForce GTX 260 would be the best deal around $200 if it weren’t a previous-gen product without DX11 support. Among today’s cards, anything from Nvidia looks good enough. The GTX 460 1GB and GTX 465 might not be worth their premiums over the GTX 460 768MB, though.

The overall picture

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Well, unless you skipped straight to this page. We’ve taken frame rates from all of our games and averaged them in an effort to concoct an “overall” performance figure for each graphics card.

First, though, some caveats. We really must stress that these overall performance numbers represent overall performance only across our benchmark suite. As much as we think we did a decent job of representing what’s on store shelves today, you might get different results with a different mix of games, or perhaps even different tests within each game. There’s sadly no such thing as a numerical panacea to gauge a graphic card’s overall performance.

As we move from comfortingly repeatable benchmarks to the wild and scary world of statistics, the math involved is also subject to different schools of thought. In our storage value roundup, for instance, we used harmonic means to smooth out the wide disparities between individual results. Here, we’ve gone with unweighted arithmetic means of the average frame rates obtained for each game. If we want to give all games equal importance, then the unweighted arithmetic mean gives us a mathematically correct average of performance across our test suite. But if we assumed the number of frames output was the constant, then it’d be proper to use an unweighted harmonic mean. Yep, “wild and scary” sounds about right.

Finally, remember that performance per dollar is only a small part of the equation. These numbers don’t account for noise levels, power and thermal requirements, or your personal eye candy needs. Not everybody has to have antialiasing switched on in every game, and some of us might not mind sacrificing a little performance for a little extra quiet.

Now that we’ve completely destroyed the credibility of the numbers below, let’s take a look at them! We started off by averaging our results minus exclusively DirectX 11 titles, since we wanted to compare current-gen cards to last-gen ones. We took numbers from Borderlands, Bad Company 2, DiRT 2 in DX9 mode, and Just Cause 2 only.

The previous-gen cards put up one heck of a fight, with the Radeon HD 4870 actually beating the Radeon HD 5770 in raw bang for buck and the “factory overlcocked” GTX 260 nipping at the heels of the GTX 460 768MB. We can take another look at this information by expressing it as a bar graph, with the key unit being overall frames per second per dollar:

Yes, DX11 GPUs can produce better graphics and, in the 5770’s case, with lower noise levels and power consumption to boot. But raw performance per dollar at the ~$150 and $200 price points doesn’t appear to have budged much over the past year. Interesting.

Next, let’s forget about the previous-gen cards and look at our whole test suite. The average frame rates below encompass all of our games, minus DiRT 2 in DX9 mode. (We wouldn’t want to include the same game twice.)

What do these graphs tell us? The bar chart tells a simple story of the cheaper cards generally being the best raw values. The scatter plot expresses more of the complexity here. Based on it, if raw performance per dollar is your chief concern, then we’d be inclined to recommend either the GeForce GTX 460 1GB or the GeForce GTX 470. The GTX 470’s thermals and noise levels aren’t terrific, though, so doling out a definite recommendation at $300 isn’t as easy as it might seem.

One thing looks clear: AMD really needs to cut the prices of its 5800-series Radeons.

Full system pricing

Another way to think about performance per dollar is to look at the graphics card as part of a complete gaming system. Top-of-the-line cards obviously look like poorer deals in a vacuum, but does that change when we account for the rest of the build?

To answer that question, we took the overall DX11 performance numbers you saw above, and we factored the cost of build based on our latest system guide into our prices:

Processor AMD Phenom II X6 1055T $199.99
Motherboard Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 $149.99
Memory Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 $93.99
Storage Western DIgital Caviar Black 1TB (6Gbps) $94.99
Samsung SH-S223L $22.99
Power supply Corsair TX650W $89.99
Enclosure Antec P183 $154.99
Total   $806.93

In case you’re wondering, we took the components from the system guide’s Utility Player config with the enclosure and power supply of the Sweeter Spot. This build should do a decent job of representing what your typical PC gamer might want to buy: a fast $200 CPU, a good motherboard with next-generation I/O, four gigs of RAM, a terabyte hard drive, a reasonably beefy power supply, and a nice, stylish enclosure.

Work full system prices into our performance data, and the top-of-the-line cards end up looking like the best deals. Our “factory overclocked” GeForce GTX 480 looks particularly well positioned. Perhaps that’s not such a big surprise—after all, spending an extra $160 to go from a GTX 470 to a GTX 480 doesn’t seem so crazy if you’ve already got over a thousand bucks set aside. Food for thought. Just don’t go thinking you absolutely need an extra 15 FPS, especially if you have a 24″ or smaller monitor.

Conclusions

Putting together these value comparisons is harder than it looks. Oh, sure, looking at our overall value graphs and making broad generalizations is a lot of fun, but it can be quite misleading. You’ve gotta keep the hidden variables in mind.

If this endeavor has taught us anything, it’s probably that both AMD and Nvidia have some decent cards out on the market today. Generally speaking, paying more for a higher-end DX11 video card will net you higher performance, and in that sense, the two firms’ product lineups seem to be fairly sensible. It’s hard to go wrong with a DirectX 11 GeForce or Radeon right now. Well, unless you buy a GeForce GTX 465—that card generally fails to pull ahead of the GTX 460 1GB despite markedly higher power consumption and noise levels, so we wouldn’t really recommend it.

Venturing onto shakier ground and more minute distinctions, our overall value comparisons suggest AMD’s Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards cost a little too much for the performance they deliver versus the competition. Also, we’re a tad disappointed to see so little progression in raw performance from the Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 to their current successors. Sure, graphical requirements in games are stagnating, but we still miss last year’s price war.

Finally, if you’re a gamer, don’t be afraid to splurge on a graphics card for your next PC. An extra hundred bucks is a drop in the bucket for a mid-range gaming build, but spending $300 instead of $200 can mean a decent amount of extra eye candy, as well as smoother frame rates. And aren’t those the reasons you’re gaming on a PC to begin with?

Comments closed
    • erick2red
    • 9 years ago

    I just read both reviews SLI vs CrossFireX, and GPU value in DX11, and think if we add the results of three Radeon 5770 in crossfire mode to overall average performance per dollar chart, then it’s more than a pretty choice the HD 5770 cards.

    Both excellent reviews, and i love see the results merged.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    For anyone with the average res monitor @ 16×10, the GTX 460 768 is an awesome pick.

    @ 19×12, it gets much less clear. The GTX 470 would be nice were it not for the character flaws that it suffers.

    The Radeons suffer performance drops in too many titles. Why? The Geforces are much more consistent.

    As soon as Nvidia releases a fully enabled GF104, the 5870 is going to be much less interesting. The ATI 6000 series cannot arrive too soon.

      • RickyTick
      • 9 years ago

      Do you think the GTX460 1gb would be good enough for the 19×12, or does it really require the step up to the 470? <curious>

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        Good enough for me! It is a multi-variable question. What are the the absolute minimum settings and frame rates you will accept? The lower the settings and frame rates you are willing to accept, the more sufficient any card becomes. If you turn off AA and a couple of the most taxing settings then the 460 1GB should adeptly play at 19×12 or 19×10 for the next two years with ease, I reckon. If you demand 4x AA and all settings maxed at 19×12 or 19×10 and no less than 30 fps average, then you will need more than a 460 1GB even this very day.

          • travbrad
          • 9 years ago

          Indeed, it’s very subjective. I have a 1920×1080 monitor and a lowly 4830, yet it still runs most games “good enough” at that resolution. Bad Company 2 for example, I have most settings on high (other than AA), and I rarely drop below 25FPS or so. The only games I’ve had to lower the resolution for were GTA4 and Borderlands

          A 4830 is a lot slower than any of the cards on this value comparison too, so really any of these cards would be pretty satisfactory at 1080p IMO.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 9 years ago

      HD4870 @ 2048×1152. TWIMTBP.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        My current card (4850) works fine with my current monitor too. But, for those who need to upgrade… the 460 is an interesting option.

          • rhema83
          • 9 years ago

          I’m also driving a 1680 x 1050 monitor with a HD4850-512MB now. Wouldn’t call it awesome, but it’s pretty adequate as long as I keep the AA down. I am also considering the GTX460-1GB as my next upgrade. The Palit Sonic Platinum looks like it’s a good performer and cost little more than the reference cards. Waiting to see some price cuts before making my move, though.

      • potatochobit
      • 9 years ago

      Just so you know

      the average resolution for 16:10 is 1920×1200

        • SecretMaster
        • 9 years ago

        I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the 1680×1050 resolution, and just abbreviated it as 16×10.

          • flip-mode
          • 9 years ago

          You’d be correct.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    It’s articles like this — detailed, thorough, and honest — for which I keep coming back to TR.

    • DrD
    • 9 years ago

    I am holding on to my Radeon 4870 1 GB toxic for now . I play at 1920×1200 .I have different approaches for single player vs multiplayer online . I don’t see right now any great reason to change as I can comfortably play any games I play .

    If I play single player games , I want all the eye candy turned right up as generally you can put up with any frame rate stutterring . When I play multiplayer I tend to turn the graphics settings back anyway to get a more consistent frame rate and smoothness. I play ETQW , L4D 1+2 and Battlefield BC 2 (also COD MW2 but didn’t like it). I think a lot of people turn down graphics settings in multiplayer first person shooters even if they have perfectly decent frame rates anyway .

    • cegras
    • 9 years ago

    Has anyone commented on how the ATI cards show an almost linear trend in price / performance? People can moan about the 5830 all they want but it slots in perfectly into their price / performance curve.

    • PixelArmy
    • 9 years ago

    *EDIT* REPLY to #91 (Having issues with this today..)

    Let me explain. Due to the absurdity of the response, I read it as being sarcastic. Given the intent of the complete quote, it seemed like an overreaction. The half quote, which may register to some as a complaint, /[

    • playboysmoov
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t seem to find the GTX 470 anywhere near the $299 price point that is reflected in this article. The websites (Amazon, Fry’s, Microcenter, and Google Shopping) that I use says the lowest price is $349.99 which is well over the price reflected in this article. Wouldn’t a $50 difference reflect different results in the scatter plots and graphs?

    Or is there a special going on that I don’t know about?

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      They mentioned Newegg for all card prices. Newegg has some of them that low, but you have to add them to your cart to see them at that pricepointg{<.<}g

        • PixelArmy
        • 9 years ago

        There are two w/o rebates at Newegg. MSI at $300 and Zotac at $305. Right now the MSI is down to $250 after a 10% coupon and a $20 MIR on top of that.

        Not that I’m saying these prices should be used for these comparisons. I like going with /[

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          “I sometimes find TRs prices off also,”
          If you know of a way they can publish a review with numbers and conclusions that reflect real-time pricing in cards that change day to day and differ from vendor to vendor and reflect availability, you should totally let them know about itg{<.<}g

            • UberGerbil
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, it’s tough. If they used average prices there’d be a bunch of people on here bitching that they can find a lower price for a particular board and that makes the whole comparison invalid; for that matter, the time-period over which the average was taken would probably be a target of criticism as well.

            Not to mention lots of readers are in places where the NewEgg prices aren’t entirely (or sometimes at all) relevant.

            These are best taken as rough guidance of what to look for (and what to ignore) so you’ll know what constitutes “a good deal” in your corner of the universe.

            • playboysmoov
            • 9 years ago

            Cool. I’m still not mad at decision to purchase a 5850 for $289. I just wish those prices were around when I was making my decision a month ago. Had the GTX 470 been a real winner I would have been mad as my return window just closed yesterday.

            • PixelArmy
            • 9 years ago

            Dude, calm down… take a timeout… finish the sentence.

            “I sometimes find TRs prices off also, *[

            • indeego
            • 9 years ago

            /[<"I sometimes find TRs prices off also, but they usually don't affect the charts and conclusions"<]/ If you know of a way they can publish a review with numbers and conclusions that reflect real-time pricing in cards that change day to day and differ from vendor to vendor and reflect availability, you should totally let them know about it. That betterg{

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 9 years ago

            Yea, there is a way, but then there would be no more reports to write, huh? 😉

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Complaining about it is just people being stupid and lazy anyway. If you know of a different price you can just mentally shift the price point left or right to account for it. Having more detailed and fine-grained graphs might help a bit for that (this goes more for the CPU articles which have a huge scale thanks to $1k CPUs) but overall one can make an approximation. Besides which I don’t know that anyone geeking out on a site like this will base their purchase decision solely upon one reviewer’s value conclusion.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    I like the Radeon 5000 series cards, but I have yet to see one that would be a nice upgrade over my still great 4870 that is reasonable priced. Were I sporting a 3000 series or older, then I’d jump on it.

      • vince
      • 9 years ago

      Yes, happy to see my 4870 still has good life in it. I’m not currently playing very recent titles as well, so I’m still able to put all settings at max. As I can see even on recent titles (unless it’s a DX11 title only), by putting down the settings a bit I’ll still get decent frame rates.

      Cool! I’m very happy in a way, because it’s the first time I’m actually happy about a VGA purchase in the long run. Usually I buy, then a couple of months later there’s a new one that would have been a much better value…

    • skully_la
    • 9 years ago

    “It’s almost like Metro 2033’s post-apocalyptic subway tunnels are filled with the drone of green vuvuzelas.”

    This made my day.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    Why no SLI/Crossfire? I understand that most people probably only get 1 low-midrange card in their pc. From the dozens of performance and value articles i’ve read over the years SLI builds are always a better value than getting a single high end card. For example, I bet 2x GTX 460 is faster than a GTX 480, and cheaper, for most or all purposes. One other website did a very short benchmark article (i think just one game) and it got %90 scaling with 2 GTX 460 cards, which is very close to the optimum level.

    Please do an SLI/Crossfire comparison in the next month or two so we can see if the newest software and games make dual cards a great value.

    • jwolberg
    • 9 years ago

    I have been thinking about getting a new card lately. Right now I have a 9800 GTX which does the job for the most part. I run my games at my monitors native resolution of 1920×1200 and typically have to set everything to medium with AA either off or set very low and usually get in the mid 20s to low 30s in FPS.

    After reading this review as well as many others and checking out pricing ( as well as the 10% coupon Newegg is now offering on Fermi based cards ) it’s really hard to ignore.

    Think it’s worth an upgrade or should I wait until next year? There isn’t much on the roadmap for the rest of 2010.

      • sreams
      • 9 years ago

      The 6000-series AMD card are coming this year, so yes, there is plenty on the roadmap. Personally, I’d wait for those to come out and then buy one of the cards listed in this article for a reduced price.

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        + the games for a reduced price. If you have the patience, waiting 6-12+ months for hardware+software in the PC world can reap big rewards (much more so on the software sideg{<.<}g)

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 9 years ago

      At this moment, do you want to play any of those crappy games in DX 11 glory? If not, just wait. You said it your self that the 9800gtx is working just fine. The next generation will neat for a nominal fee, sreams has a point about these ones will be cheaper.

        • rhema83
        • 9 years ago

        I second that. If you said it’s working fine, why bother? Wait till a game you want comes along and is playing like a slideshow, that’s the time you want to look at the latest GPUs. I am holding on to my HD4850 512MB because I am still playing Oblivion to pass time.

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      You’re in the same boat as me. There are good value cards out there which are worthy successors to your current one, but there are no compelling titles which need the horsepower, even at 1920×1200. Dirt2 runs absolutely fine, Starcraft II will run on integrated graphics (probably) and pretty much everything else worth playing is a console port, and thus runs fine on any semi-enthusiast hardware from the last 2 years.

      Until my laptop (mobile 4650) starts to struggle with anything, what is the point in upgrading my significantly more capable desktop? Borderlands struggled a little before the patch, but other UE3 games are fine, so I chalk that one up to piss-poor coding.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    I can’t wait till nVidia refreshes the 470 and 480 with cards more in line with the 460-style of power consumption and heat production. I miss the days when such products came out 6 months after the originally flawed release (GF->GF2, R9700->R9800, FX5800->FX5900, etc).

    I sincerely hope nVidia does not intend to wait a year to release the high end Fermi that DOESN’T stand in for your heater in the winter and give it a run for its money.

      • Cota
      • 9 years ago

      I think it will take a while. There will be no 32nm parts, and 28nm may be out till mid 2011

      I think the best bet is to release a 460×2 to replace the 480. It would be a risky move to “remake” the 480 on the same process.

      Unless nvidia finds a way to finally bring a G-100 with all 512 cores enabled.

        • tviceman
        • 9 years ago

        Nvidia refreshed the NV30 -> NV35 on the same node process in 5 months so why wouldn’t they want to do it with the gtx480, which potentially could get them substantially more sales in the HPC market?

          • Skrying
          • 9 years ago

          If you refresh the GTX 480 with GTX 460 type of changes then you make the GTX 480 substantially less useful in the HPC market. Also, we’re talking much more complicated designs these days.

      • Krogoth
      • 9 years ago

      You should remove 9700 => 9800 on that list and put in 2900XT => 3870XT. 😉

      FYI, 9700PRO was a such soild hit in its launch that ATI kept the same design. It just bump the clock speed and slapped faster memory on it (9800P/9800XT)

        • travbrad
        • 9 years ago

        I have to agree. The 9700PRO was the most I ever spent on a video card ($350) yet it was also one of the best values I’ve ever had from a card because it was so fast and had such great image quality. It played new games for 3+ years very solidly, and that was back when there were actually advancements being made in graphics!

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    Still sticking to my 4870 1gb until the 5870’s drop another $100 … or until the next latest greatest comes out…(especially a revision that can do 3x eyefinity without a DP )

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      I wouldn’t count on finding a card where the third simultaneous output is anything but dp. The technology and (especially) economics is against it. In fact the direction we’re heading is more dp, not fewer (though not necessarily on the card itself, since you can daisy-chain displayport)

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    I wish you guys would include some cards from the previous generation of offerings. such as the GTX 260/280. This would give some perspective on if these cards are worth upgrading yet.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      §[<https://techreport.com/articles.x/19242<]§ About as good as you'll getg{<.<}g

      • d0g_p00p
      • 9 years ago

      I think you should read the article before you start posting comments.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm, nice review.. it’s just weird that i cant even use cat 10.6 or 10.7beta.. the catalyst center wont show and games was massively lagging.. i can only use 10.5 until now with my win7 x64… and wont fps count be faulty when taken at an unplayable res?…

    • SubSeven
    • 9 years ago

    Simply a superb job gentlemen! Wonderful and insightful article. I have my quibbles here and there but nothing worth mentioning as I understand the reasoning behind your “madness”. This article gave me a solid reason to dive in and pick up some shares of Nvidia today after a massive pummeling!

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    Great article. Thanks for all the hard work!

    • RickyTick
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks for the article.

    It would seem the GTX465 is dead. Maybe vendors should cut the price and unload it while they can.

    I still have trouble justifying a new build from my P35,Q6600,GTX275, and 4gb ram. I guess I’m just not hardcore afterall.

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      No, you’re just a wise consumer.

    • thermistor
    • 9 years ago

    I got a 4850, gosh, 16 months ago, something like that…for $85. All the cards in the DX11 gen have got to come down $50-100 before they represent any sort of real value. DX10 commanded a price premium for a very short while (maybe that was because DX10 was hamstrung by being tied to Vista’s release???), but DX11 shouldn’t be any different.

    Once heat/noise/power get factored in to the nVidia offerings, they only win if a consumer judges on solely on frames…a trip to the 10% off barber will make ATI the clear winner again.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    now that their is competition can we see competitive prices.

    Also, I would like to point out that ATI previously declared they would design/build high end single GPU cards any more and that their highest single GPU card would be designed and built for the under 400 price point. I see that the 5870 2 gb is over 500 on average and that they seem to have given up their goal of focusing on the core consumer @ 300 dollars(the 5850 is over 300 9 times out of 10).

      • Waco
      • 9 years ago

      Why would you base your price judgment on a card that’s most certainly not the reference design? If you spend a few minutes looking you can find many 5870 1 GB cards at or below $400.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    For all the doubters out there, it’s been proven again that 1 GiB of videomemory offers a very real advantage compared to even as much as 768 MiB, especially in needy games such as Dirt 2, GTA 4 or Metro 2033.

    The only place where you still don’t need as much is the super-console-optimised titles, prime example of which is Borderlands, and perhaps you could count the likes of Battlefield BC2 too.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Proof? The 460 1 GB has 33% more ROPs, memory bandwidth and cache than the 768 MB. There’s too many different variables to pin down the performance advantage to any one single factor, even though I believe that the extra memory is beneficial.

        • poulpy
        • 9 years ago

        Bah! Never let facts and details get in the way of a nice “I told you so” rant 🙂

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          It wasn’t of an “I told you so” type, since I don’t usually argue about videomemory amounts in particular, but sometimes the amount of “512 megs is all you’ll /[

            • poulpy
            • 9 years ago

            Well given that /[<640K ought to be enough for anybody<]/, 512MB sounds like luxury!

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        Not too many variables. From what I hear, BF-BC2 is a demanding game yet the performance delta doesn’t testify about any serious horsepower differences, and from what I see, Borderlands doesn’t even see a difference at all.

        However, in the other games I pointed out, differences are not only measurable but sometimes significantly help make framerates acceptable with high settings. This kind of variable “sometimes do, sometimes don’t” behaviour has been commonly traced back to the amount of RAM in the past as well.

          • bittermann
          • 9 years ago

          Your post has brought up a question I’ve been wondering for a while now…do the new DX11 effects, tessellation, etc. require more local video memory than DX9/10? I have an ATI 5770 1GB that gets hammered in the Heaven Benchmark without AA or AF @ 1360×768, which only make it worse when those are enabled!

          PS: This article makes me realize that maybe my 5770 wasn’t such a good deal after all… 🙁

            • Damage
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, tessellation does require more video memory. If you do geometry expansion, the output is going into local (to the GPU) RAM. Storing more polygons will require more space, so it’s pretty much clear.

            What I don’t know is how the usage model in games will work out and whether we’ll see cards with, say, 1GB trailing behind those with more RAM any time soon. Haven’t seen any analysis or tried crunching any numbers on that.

            • UberGerbil
            • 9 years ago

            But vertexes don’t take up anything like the space textures do. Of course tessellation creates more work further down the pipe for everything, so there are combinatoric effects….

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    For me the 470 is out of the picture, regardless of its good standings here, just because it’s such a power hog.

    460 1GB versus the 5850 is what interests me, and unless AMD sort out their pricing I’ll be making another purchase from the green team.

      • xtalentx
      • 9 years ago

      My current video card is on the fritz and was deciding between these two cards. I am a big ATI/AMD fan so normally that’s the direction I go in but the 460 just seems like a better value and since I am a bigger fan of my money than AMD.. I went with the 460.

        • September
        • 9 years ago

        +1 for money.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Great article.

    It looks like 460 and 5850 are trading blows. The aggressive price-cuts on 470 makes it an attractive buy. I am surprised that AMD hasn’t done the same with 5870. I suspect they are waiting for Southern Island refresh before doing a price cut on 5870.

    IMO, any of these GPUs are quite sufficient. It is insane how much GPU power you can get under $399. 4 Megapixel gaming is no longer in the realm of exotic and expensive solutions (Quad SLI, 3xCF).

    DX11 is still irrelevant. The real reason why 4870 and 260 aren’t good deals is because they are EOL = becoming unobtainium at etailers.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, time to pull the plug on DX11. I mean, it’s been in consumer hands for 9 months already ?!?!?!!!!!! ZOMG

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        What are you smoking?

        I only said that the reason for getting a card because it supports the latest API is weak at best.

        DX11 doesn’t matter at the moment. By the time developers start to move full swing with DX11 (not tech demos). There will be cheaper, faster solutions . This always had happened with every API change. First-generation hardware always gets overshadowed by its second and third-generation successors.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          That’s the entire point of releasing them.

            • Krogoth
            • 9 years ago

            You are not looking at the problem.

            You should always get something that makes sense at the time of purchase. Don’t go for hardware purchases base on “what ifs”.

            The main reason why people get 9700PRO, 8800GTX and HD 5870 at launch wasn’t because they were first products to supported the latest API. They got them because they are fastest performing GPU on the market. Support for the latest API is just icing on the cake.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks for the article..lots of work there.
    I’m sure, in the interest of fairness, there’ll be another one shortly after the SI cards are introduced.
    Seeing Cypress was introduced in Sept 2009 and is up against NVidia’s current model lineup….
    Also the Dirt 2 DX11 chart has GTX480’s results also in red….

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    This was a good article, I would imagine though that the 5800 prices are going to have a small dip to ‘even the score’ before the 6800’s roll out. They won’t price them too low though, because many people that buy this generation won’t want to buy next one.

    Could you do this when ATI’s new gen comes out as well as Nvidia’s new GF104 based line-up? I feel that at this point and time, if you have lasted THIS long through the 5XXX/4XX series than you might as well wait for the new slew of better cards.

    Just my thought, and though this was interesting you should have done a price-time usable graph! Just kidding around, I’ve had my 5870 since launch and am happy to say we are coming up at a year old 🙂

    TLDR – Awesome Article, do more like this!

    • codedivine
    • 9 years ago

    Bug report: In the “overall average -with DX11 -full system price” bar chart, 5850 is painted green.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    This reinforces what I’ve been saying all along. 5850 is the break point. The 460’s role is to bring it down to a reasonable price. If ATI is too stubborn to make the 5850’s price-point competitive, then the 460 itself is a decent trade-off. Unfortunately, the 460 is somewhat disappointing in overall performance, especially when compared to last generation’s performance numbers.

    I think this comparison was a little premature since the market hasn’t had enough time to really shift after the 460’s introduction (though Newegg had an XFX 5850 for $249 with free shipping recently). I would give it a month or two to see what transpires. I’m hoping ATI will come to its senses and drop the 5850 to the $240 price-point to compete with the 460 1GB and then I’ll pounce when a good deal comes around (I’m thinking more like $210-220 on sale).

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Yup. A 5850 is the ‘bare minimum’ I’d consider for performance in modern titles, but unfortunately, its retail pricing is above the ‘reasonable maximum’ I would pay for its performance.

      460 really does give good value (especially the 1 GB… if you can find it), but that is mainly because the current video card market prices aren’t too hot for value. But its pure performance isn’t enough to tempt me to upgrade.

      I wonder how Southern Islands will affect things. Will the Cypress cards get phased out too quickly to ever become bargains? I suppose part of that depends on the yields, ramping and demand of SI. But the past few years haven’t been great for GPU value, probably because it was a one-horse race for most of that time.

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        5850 and 460 are consider to be “minimal”?

        WTF are you smoking? Unless you feeding it a 4 Megapixel monitor with a high degree of AA and AF. 5850 and 460 are plenty fast.

        Talk about being spoiled. 🙄

          • Voldenuit
          • 9 years ago

          Did you read my post? I said ‘minimum for *[

            • TravelMug
            • 9 years ago

            I can’t believe I’m backing up Krogoth here, but yes, you seem spoiled if you consider 460 or 5850 a minimum. This is probably because you base that on looking at the benchmark results in reviews. You’d need more experience with those games to know that way slower cards are perfectly acceptable performance wise when you turn down one or two of the graphical settings instead of using the full whack Ultra settings like reviewers do. There are always settings which raise the FPS considerable when turned down a notch while not being noticed at all when playing the game.

            • Voldenuit
            • 9 years ago

            No, I’m perfectly happy with a 4870. It’s ATI and nvidia who’re spoiled if they think that any of their current generation cards are good enough value to get gamers to upgrade.

            The performance and feature delta just isn’t there.

            If you’re building a new system from scratch, they might be more palatable, but I’d still rather tough it out with an IGP until there is proper price competition in the market. I’m definitely glad I waited a couple months on my G35 and nabbed a 4850 for $199 instead of a GTX260 for $399 at launch, for instance.

            To draw parallels, the 5850’s $300 asking price is completely unsupportable right now, so my wallet’s sewed up tight. If they want my moolah, they’ll have to work for it.

        • scpulp
        • 9 years ago

        The past few years? Maybe, but the Radeon HD 4800 period was 110% awesome for consumers. Massive price war between Nvidia and ATI meant great deals all around, no matter which camp you were in.

          • Voldenuit
          • 9 years ago

          The Radeon 4850 came out two years ago (wow, has it been that long?), so I’m not including it in my ‘past few years’ (although semantically speaking, past /[

            • khands
            • 9 years ago

            People keep saying this, but really, the 5850 was meant to replace the 4850, 5870 to replace the 4870, they were just priced more “in line” with the performance they were offering in comparison to last generations models (+$50 on each card at launch, which has since gone up about another $50 because of lack of competition).

    • scpulp
    • 9 years ago

    I would never accuse you guys of an Nvidia bias, because I know you, but I am a little displeased that the majority of the games in this roundup are Nvidia stalwarts. Metro 2033, Borderlands, and Just Cause 2 have all historically shown a major bias for Nvidia hardware. Given my own experience benching DiRT 2, I honestly think that one tends to be pretty fair, and I’m fine with AvP. BFBC2, at least for a while, tended to favor ATI kit.

    But did anyone actually LIKE AvP, DiRT 2, or Metro 2033? I’ve been going back and forth with my editor trying to figure out which games WE should be benching with and I think we have a good lineup, and it’s hard because some of the games that are best for benching just aren’t…good.

    BFBC2 is a fine game and popular enough, and I think JC2 is doing well, but I’m pretty sure the bubble popped on Borderlands once people realized it wasn’t actually good. And then AvP just sucks out loud, no one was happy with that one.

    Thinking out loud here, comments appreciated.

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Nearly every major game title involves the developer working more prominently with one GPU maker or the other. I believe JC2, Metro 2033, and Borderlands are TWIMTP games. DiRT 2 and AvP were early DX11 titles where AMD was prominently involved. BC2, dunno.

      This kind of thing is unavoidable, so we just try to pick games that use the latest features (DX11 was important here), generally have good visuals, are straightforward to test (RTS games are almost impossible with FPS caps and different zoom levels and really just not being GPU limited), and that we enjoy.

      Which leads to me to the fact that Borderlands is our Unreal Engine 3 representative because it’s visually interesting and rich, actually strains current GPU hardware, and is one of my favorite games of the past few years. So yeah, disagree with you there.

      Now, the fact remains that with only this many games in the mix, we’re not really covering a broad enough spectrum to make me personally confident we’re seeing the picture well. Hence all the caveats Cyril put in there. This is what it is, a little bit different way to look at our test data, and not the omnipotent value database one might ideally wish to see.

        • scpulp
        • 9 years ago

        That’s all true, and I really like the value scatter plots and I agree with the conclusions drawn: Radeon HD 5000 series hardware has been overpriced for too long now and it needs to come down.

        Borderlands we may have to agree to disagree on: it took my social circle by storm and then promptly vanished within a month. Anyway, to be fair, I’ve loved worse games. People actually like Borderlands; I’m willing to go to the mat for FEAR: Perseus Mandate.

        For our UE3 engine representative, we’re using Mass Effect 2. It doesn’t strain the hardware as hard as Borderlands does, but honestly I just think Borderlands isn’t a very good port.

        I don’t know. I’m not sure I agree with your game selection, but hell, I don’t agree with OUR game selection and my editor and I have hashed the heck out of it. It’s a no-win situation.

        • Rza79
        • 9 years ago

        It’s true what you’re saying but a huge chunk of readers actually don’t read. They just look at the graphs.
        Then when you put out graphs like the ‘overal average’ graph, the confusion starts (specially since it’s three TWIMTP games in only six games).
        You get people like this:
        §[<https://techreport.com/ja.zz?id=497926<]§ §[<https://techreport.com/ja.zz?id=497933<]§ Take XBit, they used 14 games + 3 benchmarks in their last review. §[<http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/nvidia-geforce-gtx-460.html<]§ Take ComputerBase, they used 12 games + 1 benchmarks in their last review. §[<http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2010/test_nvidia_geforce_gtx_460<]§ Not only did they use double the games but they also tested at various resolutions. What's stopping you guys to do the same?

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          What is stopping them is some of those games you linked to are many years old, and I believe the purpose was to test MODERN games, using the latest technologies, with the latest cards. I don’t see where review sites need to exactly parrot each other in philosophyg{

      • can-a-tuna
      • 9 years ago

      And Catalyst 10.7 Borderlands improvements of course didn’t manage into this review. I bet ATI did those just for TR :). I don’t think anyone else is using Borderlands in their benchmark suite.

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      I suggest Final Fantasy benchmark to be added… havent tried it myselft but i think it could fairly represent mmorpg..

        • MrBojangles
        • 9 years ago

        I would second that.I’m currently in the ffxiv beta and although it in no way reflects the final retail system requirements.The min requirements listed for beta systems are pretty darn high especially for an mmo.Both the benchmark and the game itself are giving more than a few people with fairly decent systems(not exactly high end though) trouble.for instance my system with an i5-750,4gb ram, and a 5770 running at 950/1400 only scores around 2500 on the high settings (1920×1080) benchmark which is just considered “exceptable for a decent play experieance.”

      • d0g_p00p
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t know what you are talking about but Borderland was freaking awesome. I know everyone has different opinions on what they like but not a single one of my gamer friends did not like Borderlands, myself included.

      There is a reason why there are 3 playthroughs in the game. Everyone I know has done all 3 including the DLC’s.

        • scpulp
        • 9 years ago

        My friends and I all liked Borderlands for the first couple weeks. Then the game became more and more crushingly repetitive and it eventually just lost us.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 9 years ago

      DiRT2 was super fun on the PC.

      • PixelArmy
      • 9 years ago

      “DiRT 2, the thrilling sequel to the award-winning Codemasters off-road racer, offers players a more realistic, immersive and exhilarating experience than ever before, and is *[http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/dirt2-offers-dirx11-2009nov30.aspx<]§ AvP At an event we held recently at GDC in San Francisco, *[http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/amd-press-release-2009sep22.aspx<]§

    • uknowit90
    • 9 years ago

    Can you post a comparison of Borderlands using Catalyst 10.7? There are supposed to be performance gains in Borderlands with the new driver suite, aren’t there?

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      The release notes say performance with AA and AF enabled is improved 3-10% on various Radeons. We didn’t test with AA enabled, though. That’s a kind of “forced on” thing via the control panel that is relatively new since this game doesn’t support AA natively.

      Will Cat 10.7 drivers improve performance in Borderlands without AA? Seems unlikely, but I plan to check before our next article.

    • KarateBob
    • 9 years ago

    I’m sad there aren’t any Crossfire numbers for the $200 and under cards :(.

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Testing is well underway. Stay tuned.

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 years ago

        Scott, why was AvP tested at such an unplayable resolution? Surely it would have been better to test at 1080p or to tone down some effects to more closely simulate how people would configure the game in real life. I’m sure no one buys a $400 card to play a game at 23 fps. If he does, he needs to get punched. /[

          • Damage
          • 9 years ago

          We testing AvP at multiple resolutions but selected the highest res tested for each game because we wanted to isolate the GPU as the primary performance limiter. If you want to see full results with lower resolutions, see my GTX 460 review or my upcoming multi-GPU roundup. The focus here was… more focusy!

            • Voldenuit
            • 9 years ago

            While I understand the reasoning behind your decisions, my $0.02 is that an article focused on value would serve your readers best if it concentrated on playable resolutions for the games it tests.

            A GPU that runs the game at 16 fps vs another that manages 19fps are both equally worthless to the typical gamer :P.

            • Damage
            • 9 years ago

            That would be… a different approach than what we took, one where GPU power is not honored above, say, 45-60 FPS, perhaps, at the given settings? That could work as an approach, but it’s just something quite different than seeking to quantify meaningful differences in GPU power.

            • Voldenuit
            • 9 years ago

            I’m not saying you should tune every card to hit 50-60 fps (that’s what [H] does, and I frankly can’t glean any meaningful comparisons from their reviews).

            My suggestion is that if none of the cards are hitting playable frame rates in a given game, then you should think about dropping the resolution or eye candy a notch. Maybe aim it so at least 2-3 cards are in that playable resolution range (40-60 fps) so gamers can compare.

            After all, it’s very likely that the lower end cards might /never/ reach playable framerates on some games, but someone wanting to plonk down $200-400 on a card probably wants to know if the card can play the game he’s thinking of.

            EDIT: The question, I suppose, is which you consider a more meaningful metric in a GPU: FPS at maximum settings, or FPS at playable resolutions. Outside of the purely theoretical realm, I would wager on more gamers being interested in the latter.

            • StuG
            • 9 years ago

            I for one would be for seeing crossfire/SLI configurations. I have my 5870’s in crossfire and see a size-able difference between the 5970 and my setup (enough to warrant the purchase IMO). SLI GTX480’s would also be interesting to see compared in this chart.

            Once again, I am thankful for the article in the first place. Really well done and by no means ripping on you or suggesting that you were wrong for NOT adding these things. Just saying that had you been able to split yourself into two separate people, than add crossfire/SLI numbers in, that would have been pretty sweet 😛

            • Damage
            • 9 years ago

            Have a look at the different resolutions here:

            §[<https://techreport.com/articles.x/19242/7<]§ This AvP benchmark is GPU limited even at 1680x1050. And the relative standings between the cards is virtually identical save for the size of the FPS numbers. Had we used the lower res to make you feel more comfortable, the relative value results would be essentially unchanged. So, sure, that would be fine with me in that case. But nothing would change!

            • Voldenuit
            • 9 years ago

            Hehe, yeah, read the 460 review and saw that. Guess it’s a wringer of a game eh? So is this the next Crysis?

            Somehow, “Yeah, but can it play AvP?” doesn’t have quite the same ring ^_^.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Apparently you can force AA in borderlands in the CCC on ATI cards and use rivatuner and use the “D3DOverrider” option on Nvidia, ‘cording to the steam forumsg{<.<}g.. 7 games, many without DX 11 benefits (or even 10 benefits).... mehg{<.<}g

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Seriously! UT3, Fallout 3, BioShock, Left 4 Dead 2, Modern Warfare 2, Doom 3, and Serious Sam SE? All DX9 or earlier. How weak! Why couldn’t they have used DX11 games like AvP, Bad Company 2, DiRT 2, and Metro 2033? Or at least a recent DX10 game like Just Cause 2?? Man!

        • scpulp
        • 9 years ago

        BioShock is DX10. 😉 Barely, but it is.

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        Guess I should have elaborated. The pickings of games that take advantage of these features is slim to none. It was more a knock on “THIS is PC gaming a year after DX11? reminds me of… oh, I dunno, DirectX10!”

        Also should include display prices with system purchases. People don’t buy high end cards hopefully without the $600+ LCD’s to go with themg{<...<}g

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Don’t know about that — from posts around here, it seems like a lot of people are perfectly happy to pair sub $200 LCDs to go with their over-$300 graphics cards. If you’re not doing color-sensitive work, and you’re not concerned by the viewing angles (or the color-shifts don’t bother) you, and/or you’re just not (over?)-sensitive to color issues, the modern TN displays are fine. And a lot of people seem to fall into those groups, and they’d rather save money on the display to put somewhere else. I’m not one of them, and you aren’t either, but like the model M keyboard folks we’re in a minority.

            • rhema83
            • 9 years ago

            Which brings up the point that TR hasn’t done a LCD monitor comparo in ages (has it ever)? I am wishing hard for one because I think the next logical purchase (or prerequisite) to a good graphics card is a good monitor. My Samsung 22-incher is still holding up but my aging eyes demand something bigger (that won’t break the bank).

            How about a LCD monitor comparo when the GPU dust settles?

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            Did you just call Damage an “it”?

            • rhema83
            • 9 years ago

            My deepest apologies! I meant to refer to Damage Labs as a whole, not the person represented by the moniker “Damage”.

            Anyway, I corrected it to read TR instead. Yeah, TR, please do some monitor reviews soon. No amount of GPU technology is going to shine through a crappy monitor!

            • Kurotetsu
            • 9 years ago

            Doing a value comparison for monitors can be difficult because, like anything related to audio, its extremely subjective. You can objectively measure things like, say, color accuracy, but like UberGerbil pointed out, many people don’t really care about color accuracy. What this leads to is a bunch of people jumping into the associated thread to bitch and moan about why their favorite monitor wasn’t rated as high as they liked based on factors they don’t care about (and anyone who has different standards than them can go to hell).

            If they had to do a monitor value article, the factors that tend to be universal in regards to what people are concerned about all have to do with the manufacturer (Dell, Acer, LaCie, NEC, etc) rather than the monitor itself. Inputs, build quality, # of dead pixels, return policy, etc. Comparison of panel technology like TN, VA and IPS is likely to flare tempers up just as much as color accuracy, and is probably something to stay away from.

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