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6870 Crossfire Microstutter

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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 6:56:45 AM

I had several problems myself with 6870 crossfire, then was never fully remedied and the problems were consistent across several drivers. Its good to see that Toms HW finally had a nice article on crossfire and sli, I think these few paragraphs really sum up my experience, and the experience of others with a similar setup. What does everybody think after reading these words?

"CrossFire With Two Cards

If you're only judging based on average frame rates, two cards seems like a great deal for the price. We've had several readers write in, though, complaining about this micro-stuttering issue, which simply cannot be seen in the context of normal benchmarks.

Even at frame rates above 50 FPS, micro-stuttering rears its ugly head, pronounced enough to significantly detract from the gaming experience. A paradigm shift seems necessary, at least until both AMD and Nvidia are able to prevent or mask the artifact. Right now, if you asked us whether it'd be smart to "go cheap" on an inexpensive card and double-down later with another one, we'd have to suggest against it if you're the sort to be bothered by micro-stuttering. The improvement in performance would be negated by the phenomenon's impact. Currently, it seems like cards less powerful than the Radeon HD 6950 are not well-suited for dual-card CrossFire. Even if the frame rates look decent, the slower the GPU, the more pronounced you'll see micro-stuttering during gameplay.

At the same time, not everyone is equally sensitive to time-skewed frame sequences, and quite a few cheap TFT LCD displays help hide the effect. Even so, AMD has a major undertaking ahead of it in order to really improve the dual-card experience. "

This pretty much reiterates what I have been saying in that crossfire with any card below a 6950 is not going to produce an overall smooth experience, in sli the problems across the board seem to be less pronounced. What are peoples thoughts on this? This makes me feel a lot better about my personal disappointment in the 6870 crossfire pair that I owned
a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 7:52:05 AM

Microstutter is exactly the same whether Sli or Crossfire. They both work in the exact same way (alternate frame rendering) with absolutely no differences between them.

The best thing to do is lower your settings to ensure you stay above 60 fps. Many people don't even notice microstutter btw, it's very much a personal thing.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 8:08:13 AM

Wrong

According to the article, if you read it; the micro-stutter is more noticeable on the radeon cards. Did you read the article on Toms HW?
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 8:36:59 AM

Sigh here we go.

Metro 2033

Quote:
Neither Nvidia nor AMD manage to avoid micro-stuttering in multi-GPU mode. Only the three-way CrossFire setup is more or less OK.


Draw with dual-cards, win for AMD with 3-way crossfire.

AvP

Quote:
AvP lets the AMD cards shine as far as frame rates go. However, we're also setting new records in the micro-stuttering department. It takes a three-way or four-way CrossFire setup to approach the quality of Nvidia's SLI output.


Dual Sli wins, draw vs 3-way crossfire.

Stalker stutters on both. Draw.

Call of Juarez

Quote:
Let’s recap the introduction and the graph of the GeForce GTX 590. Apart from the three-way and four-way CrossFire setups, which do provide solid performance and low levels of micro-stuttering, AMD's dual-GPU CrossFire implementation isn't impressing us. Nvidia emerges victorious here.


Dual Sli wins, draw vs 3-way crossfire.

Mafia II

Quote:
In both categories, however, CrossFire and SLI fall victim to micro-stuttering. At higher resolutions, Nvidia seems worse than AMD. The three-way CrossFire setup is the overall winner if you want to keep stuttering to a minimum.


Crossfire wins dual and 3-way.

Crossfire is better in 2 of the games and the ones where SLi wins, 3-way crossfire is said to be equal to it. Yet according to the conclusion Sli is {very slightly} better. And people wonder why toms get accused of bias...

The real answer of course is, there aint no way toms should be making comments on what is better using such a tiny amount of games.


Anyway you got your answer jjb. You should have got the 6870x2 to go with your other 6870 and got huge frames and almost no microstutter.

Quote:
The performance of three- and four-way CrossFire setups not only surprised us, but also managed to utterly convince us that micro-stuttering doesn't have to affect your multi-GPU configuration. For some reason, the third GPU almost always eliminates micro stuttering and has a less-pronounced effect on performance.


Too late for you now obviously but that is the very clear winner in the article.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 8:54:10 AM

Also...

Quote:
We've run a number of other benchmarks and need to add, for the sake of fairness, that Nvidia's advantage is only evident if its driver is optimized for smooth frame rates rather than raw performance. The company takes certain apps, like synthetic benchmarks and commonly-tested games, and tweaks them to yield higher numbers at the expense of consistency.


Well isn't that interesting. Perhaps all future sli articles should be done at that setting? Of course then Nvidia would cry about their low scores. :whistle: 

I do feel that AMD might need to do some kind of driver work at the lower end (I also feel it is unfair that the 6870's were tested for AMD but nothing below the 560 Ti was for Nvidia). I wonder if Catalyst AI would make a difference? Interesting article nonetheless, but I wish they wouldn't make such conclusions on such a small sample size of games.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 9:02:38 AM

I have a pair of 4850s that I just picked up that I wanted to throw in my machine to try CF for myself. I wanted to see if I could see/feel this MS effect and look for differences between a single 4850, 4850CF and my 5750. Alas these plans are dashed after work fired someone and I need to start pulling 6 workday weeks again. Seriously, why agree to work nights at all if you can't do it?
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 9:06:21 AM

The really hilarious thing about that article is, Nvidia cards stutter less on AMD sponsored games and AMD cards stutter less on Nvidia sponsored games. Wtf is that all about really.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 2:49:15 PM

looks like the cards are trying too hard to impress their sponsors lol
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 3:02:00 PM

boju said:
looks like the cards are trying too hard to impress their sponsors lol

:lol:  good joke and good point!
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 3:04:39 PM

crossfire may win in terms of raw performance but this clearly proves the micro stuttering that I experienced with my 6870 crossfire setup, the performance is absolutely unacceptable
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 3:23:36 PM

jjb8675309 said:
crossfire may win in terms of raw performance but this clearly proves the micro stuttering that I experienced with my 6870 crossfire setup, the performance is absolutely unacceptable


It really depends on what games you play. Clearly you have the type of eyes that can't handle microstutter but it really isn't an issue for the majority of people else...really nobody would use Sli or Crossfire at all. Many still do even with all of the faults, so to them the tradeoff (if they notice it) is obviously worth it.

A lot of people say 30fps is totally fine, to me it's garbage and I could never play any game at such awful fps. Why is that, I dunno. People's eyes are different.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 4:31:36 PM

I guess it depends how close you're sitting to the display too, you'll definitely pickup more if you're closer than usual but perhaps jjb is sitting normal distance. There’s things you could try/accept like adjusting some settings in ati's control panel or just disable one of the cards for certain games.

I think it comes down to the fact you'd prefer to solve the issue rather devalue your money spent in a product solution that should satisfy your wants. Shame it’s a hassle. From my experience of gaming and lanning it never does play out smoothly.

Quote:
A lot of people say 30fps is totally fine, to me it's garbage and I could never play any game at such awful fps. Why is that, I dunno. People's eyes are different.


I agree with you there. There’s a lot of that going around. You might not be able to see the difference (you can really) but mostly if you’re a competitive gamer you sure can feel the difference especially with the refresh rate.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2011 8:48:38 PM

Yeah that's what I dont get. A lot of people say they can't see the difference but to me it's really obvious. Anything below 60 fps is distracting, even 50 fps feels like it is distracting and I just know when I'm not getting over 60 fps.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 12:31:05 AM

I have been reading all this crap about microstuttering, but noone has come up with a solution. Well, some people have "solutions" like adding more ram, but then its obvious they were not experiencing microstuttering at all, just a lack of ram causing loading from the hard drive causing a sudden dip in FPS, which is NOT micro stuttering. If someone can link a good video to show what micro stuttering actually is, that would be helpful to some people that think they are experiencing it when they may have another issue.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 1:25:32 AM

personally ive def experienced it and it is quite annoying even with frames well above 60 like in bfbc2 the experience with 6870 crossfire was unplayable to me and it was most definatley micro-stutter

But yeah I think a video would be very helpful
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 1:34:15 AM

Well, this does show that my philosophy was a good one to follow. Only SLI high end cards (6950 or 560ti or better). Unless you need more power than you can get from a single card, you should stick to the single card. My only exception is the 580 is kind of priced beyond its performance.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 1:51:26 AM

I have experienced Sli and Crossfire and I agree that it's not for me (I can't handle microstutter either), but it's hard to argue with what the majority feel about it.

Maybe the people who detect it obviously are special cases, hardcore gamers/techsite reviewers etc. I bet you all see the huge difference between 30 and 60 fps too. We are probably trained eyes and the vast majority of people just don't see it.

It's worth some research and I enjoyed the article but I do wish they'd taken it a bit further. Maybe in a future one, we'll see.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 9:11:43 AM

Eyefinity, I am the only person I've met in person who can't handle a CRT monitor at 60Hz. EVERYONE I've personally met including my family members can't see what I'm talking about. I'm not sure if us gamers are special, or we just know what to look for.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 9:24:49 AM

^ :lol:  we should have an unknown X-chromosome... but i know what you mean!
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a c 216 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 1:52:51 PM

4745454b said:
Eyefinity, I am the only person I've met in person who can't handle a CRT monitor at 60Hz. EVERYONE I've personally met including my family members can't see what I'm talking about. I'm not sure if us gamers are special, or we just know what to look for.


I don't know anyone who complains about 60hz on a CRT, but I do know people who complain about headaches and sores eyes after using their CRT's at 60hz. They just don't know why they are experiencing the headaches.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
August 23, 2011 4:40:11 PM

I can see the flicker. I can sit down and look straight ahead and see it. My eyes INSTANTLY begin to hurt. It would drive me bonkers that whenever I went to my parents house or friends place to work on a system I would have to change it to 72/75Hz. As far as I'm concerned the best thing about LCDs is that I don't have to do this anymore.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
August 24, 2011 1:13:14 AM

i cant look at a 60hz crt for more than a second, its horrible. 70Hz+ is a must. Luckily for me, they finally ditched the CRT's at work a couple months ago.
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