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DiRT 3 used to be one of AMD’s favorite games and benchmarks. But, for some reason, the GCN-architecture seems to struggle with it more than it should. Nevertheless, our prototype board with its engineering sample GPU places right where we expect within the Radeon hierarchy. This time, it can’t touch Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560s, with or without Ti suffix, indicating very good driver optimizations on Nvidia’s part. That would also explain why even the older GTX 580 is able to pull ahead of the Radeon HD 7970.
While the Radeon HD 7850 and the card with the prototype chip are basically neck and neck, slotting in right behind the 6850 and 6870, the field is pretty tightly packed in general, indicating a strong reliance on CPU power. In other words, our processor is the most likely bottleneck.
Battlefield 3 also shows our pre-production board right where it belongs within the line-up of Radeon cards. It enjoys a small yet clear lead over the Radeon HD 6870, while the Radeon HD 7770 barely ties the HD 6850. This time, the two GeForce GTX 560s remain just out of reach, although the engineering sample’s frame rates are smooth enough as well.