I recently purchased Crysis 3 and am somewhat disappointed by the performance of my single Asus Direct cu2 HD 7970. I am playing with most settings completely maxed out, barring anisotropic filtering which I have set to x4, fog on medium, and Msaa x4 high. With these settings I'm currently getting an average of about 30 fps with frequent dips into low 20's (even late teens in larger environments). I have even tried to clock the card to 1125/1575, and the performance is still way too low in my opinion. Only in smaller rooms do the frames go up to about 50, but in general they are all over the place causing a bit of a lag like feeling.
I am running the latest Catalyst 13.2 6 beta drivers which are supposed to be optimized for Crysis 3, so I cant imagine that this is a driver issue, unless AMD havent quite got the polish right yet. The only thing I can think of is that Crysis 3 is just a very demanding game when graphical settings are turned all the way up.
Having spent quite a bit of $ on my setup, I cant justify turning the settings down to compensate for poor performance. Instead i have been thinking of picking up another Asus HD 7970 Direct cu2 and running them in Xfire to improve general performance and frame rates.
Having said this, I do worry about a couple of things though, and I hope the community here at Toms hardware can help me out.
1. Bottleneck: This is the number 1 issue I am thinking of. I know that there are very few CPU's at the moment that will not bottleneck 7970's in Xfire, but how will my first generation stock i7 960 @ 3.2 GHZ hold up? I am not opposed to the idea of overclocking, but have never done so before when it comes to CPU's, and have also read that it did not do all that much to compensate. I understand that if benchmarks had to be taken it would be very clear how big the bottleneck is, but I'm more concerned with actual in game performance. Basically, will the increase in performance justify the $400 I am about to spend? Or will my CPU prove to be useless for powerful cards like these in Xfire? Its worth noting that I plan on upgrading my CPU as well, but only within the next generation or so.
2. Heat & noise: I used to run two Gigabyte windforce GTX 570's in SLI and I remember the amount of noise being made when those plastic windforce fans hit 100%, it sounded like my PC was taking off! Granted the Direct cu2 has much better cooling and bigger, better steel fans that run much quieter, I am still curious as to the level of heat I will be getting, and how noisy my system will run under load. Given the size (close to 3 slots) of specifically these 7970's, I will have to fit the cards rather close together and as such Im worried my temps will sky rocket. Would I have to resort to liquid cooling? I really would prefer not to resort to such measures quite yet. My case is a full tower Antec 900 with good airflow. Ambient temps can get quite hot at times as I live in Australia.
I am playing at 1080p resolution with the following setup: (I will be getting a better monitor capable of higher resolutions in the near future)
i7 960 @ 3.2 GHZ (stock)
Asus ROG Rampage 3 extreme
Asus HD 7970 Direct cu2
12GB Corsair Vengeance RAM (3x4GB)
Intel 330 120GB SSD
Corsair 1000w PSU
Antec 900 full tower case.
Windows 7 64bit
TLDR; Will the increase in performance justify the $400 I am about to spend with my current setup, or will it bottleneck way too much rendering the second GPU pretty much an un-needed expense?