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Benchmark Results: Resident Evil 5

Core i5, Core i7, CrossFire, And SLI: Gaming Paradise, Redux?
By

You’ll need to take our Resident Evil 5 numbers with a grain of salt if you can’t help comparing ATI to Nvidia. After all, the game doesn’t launch in North America until mid-September, and was only released as a benchmarkable demo by Nvidia to showcase its 3D Vision technology.

With that said, it’s a pretty game, and our talks with Capcom have indicated that the demo is indicative of the title’s performance. More than likely, ATI simply needs more time in order to make its own driver optimizations.

Update: After a bit of waiting, we were plugged in to the game's developers in Japan, who let us know that there is zero difference between the DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 code paths available in the demo. Thus, if you run the demo on ATI hardware, be sure to use the DirectX 9 path. For the purpose of these tests, again, don't bother comparing performance, as the Radeon HD 4870 X2s should be significantly quicker. If you're running Nvidia hardware, it's also safe to go with DirectX 9. The DirectX 10 option is the way to go for playing through GeForce 3D Vision shades.

Update 2: There's a hotfix that ATI says adds CrossFireX support to Resident Evil 5, available here. This was not the problem we were experiencing here, it turns out, though. With the hotfix applied, our results in the DirectX 10 version of the demo were still at or under 40 frames per second. The real issue is, in fact, the DirectX 10 mode of the game. Re-running 2560x1600 with 4xAA results in a score of 104.6 frames per second (higher than a pair of GeForce GTX 285s on the Core i5 platform). If you're testing your ATI-based GPU in this one, make sure you use DX9!

Until then, we see the lowest-res test favoring the Core i5 and Core i7 LGA 1156-based platforms, suggesting that this title isn’t well-optimized for threading and is instead seeing processor-specific gains due to Turbo Boost kicking in. Transitioning to 2560x1600 negates that benefit though, as graphics performance is more acutely emphasized—a claim substantiated by SLI positively affecting performance where it didn’t before. In both resolutions, CrossFire actually hurts the performance of ATI’s cards, suggesting that there is simply no profile yet available for Resident Evil 5.

We see the same favoritism toward the new LGA 1156 CPUs paired with Nvidia’s fastest single-GPU card, and the gain grows with a pair installed. Though this contradicts the results of our academic look at integrated PCI Express, which showed that, at comparable clocks, X58’s dedicated x16 links enabled better performance, the addition of Turbo Boost accelerating CPU performance in a poorly-threaded game would in fact give these graphics processors more room to breathe and result in a less CPU-limited environment.

The same advantage persists at 2560x1600, though it isn’t as pronounced, since the graphics cards are decidedly more taxed here. The scaling with SLI is truly impressive, even if it’s the result of significant optimization prior to the game’s launch. At the end of the day, this is still good news for gamers with Nvidia cards.

ATI owners will need to wait until the company’s driver team gets its hands on the game, optimizes the Catalyst suite, and adds a CrossFire profile. With the demo now available, we can only hope it’ll wrap this into its next driver release around the time Resident Evil 5 ships to retail.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 5:37 PM
    Pei-Chen: This article shobuld make it painfully obvious that AMD can and DOES compete on performance in games. AMD has brought plenty of innovation, even if they don't always finish first, but only for the CPU-based video rendering enthusiast does it make no sense to purchase AMD, the other 99.9% of us couldn't tell the difference in a taste test.

    PS: If you want a 3rd and 4th player, you should go discuss x86 licensing with your beloved Intel...
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 12:45 PM
    Let's be glad AMD is still around to provide competition to Intel. Gaming is obviously fine on either CPU, but some people say: "OMG, I must have the Core i7 because it can do the Monte Carlo simulation faster!!!". The performance difference between Core i7/Phenom II is marginal right now, but if AMD were to exit stage left, then these round ups would be VIA vs. Intel, and I don't know about you, but VIA's offerings really AREN'T fast enough for me... Consider a Phenom II, I love mine...
  • 11 Hide
    San Pedro , September 8, 2009 12:27 PM
    Why so many tests today with 2 4870x2s?

    I'd rather have seen 4890 and then 4890CF. That way you see single card performance compared to crossfire instead of dual corssfire compared to quad crossfire.

    I do understand why the card is compared to the GTX 285 based on price though.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    lashton , September 8, 2009 6:11 AM
    so we can assume for gaming the 965BE (or 955 oc) and ATi cards are just as fast as Core i7 and i5 but at a fraction of the price
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , September 8, 2009 6:26 AM
    The 955 does cost less. The 965 is more expensive than Core i5.
  • 8 Hide
    Dekasav , September 8, 2009 6:28 AM
    Only thing I don't like is how you knock Crossfire with 2 HD 4870X2's, since when is it even feasible that 4-way CF would scale as well as 2-way SLI?

    But excellent review, overall, I'm actually surprised at how the 965BE did, I thought it'd be behind, where it was actually right in the pack.
  • -1 Hide
    dirtmountain , September 8, 2009 6:47 AM
    I would have liked to see a 780a or a 980a SLI motherboard used to check the SLI numbers on the P2 965BE. I'm also surprised there's no overclocking numbers in the comparison, is that article still to come out?
  • 9 Hide
    cangelini , September 8, 2009 6:51 AM
    It's upcoming dirt; Patrick is the one working on it (and our Italian team sent word of its i5 and i7s in excess of 4.2 GHz)
  • 5 Hide
    sudeshc , September 8, 2009 7:01 AM
    Nice game collection you got there.......:) 

    Great review.
  • 6 Hide
    anonymous x , September 8, 2009 7:04 AM
    Quote:
    Let us know what you think about this in the comments section, but it was pretty clear that Vista was never a favorite, so we're hoping Windows 7 is a more popular environment in which to test

    I like vista, rock solid and stable since I got it years ago. Don't listen to the bashers who never have tried the product.
  • 2 Hide
    lashton , September 8, 2009 8:50 AM
    You giotta remember vista is design for spoecific hardware and powerfull hardware that can run it, so people with P4 3GHz and vista complain about its speed, vista is OK, i dont like it cause my computer doesm't like it thats fine i get over it and chnage my OS
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , September 8, 2009 9:24 AM
    Thanks for weighing in, guys!
  • -8 Hide
    crash27 , September 8, 2009 10:32 AM
    So there's no benafit from adding a second 285 to a q9550s or an x4 965 be ??

    I get a good performance boost from my second gtx280 with my q9650 @ 4 gz
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , September 8, 2009 10:40 AM
    crash--
    As mentioned in the story, these were tested on 790GX and X48 platforms, which don't do SLI. While there are Nvidia-based SLI platforms available for both configurations, I felt that they were quite a bit more rare and applicable to a much smaller contingent of readers than the CrossFire-capable platforms. The beauty of X58 and P55 is that they'll do both!
    Regards,
    Chris
  • 5 Hide
    jj463rd , September 8, 2009 11:04 AM
    Kudos for adding the Flight Simulator X as a benchmark.
  • 11 Hide
    San Pedro , September 8, 2009 12:27 PM
    Why so many tests today with 2 4870x2s?

    I'd rather have seen 4890 and then 4890CF. That way you see single card performance compared to crossfire instead of dual corssfire compared to quad crossfire.

    I do understand why the card is compared to the GTX 285 based on price though.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 12:45 PM
    Let's be glad AMD is still around to provide competition to Intel. Gaming is obviously fine on either CPU, but some people say: "OMG, I must have the Core i7 because it can do the Monte Carlo simulation faster!!!". The performance difference between Core i7/Phenom II is marginal right now, but if AMD were to exit stage left, then these round ups would be VIA vs. Intel, and I don't know about you, but VIA's offerings really AREN'T fast enough for me... Consider a Phenom II, I love mine...
  • 7 Hide
    Pei-chen , September 8, 2009 3:20 PM
    competition_fanblokeLet's be glad AMD is still around to provide competition to Intel. Gaming is obviously fine on either CPU, but some people say: "OMG, I must have the Core i7 because it can do the Monte Carlo simulation faster!!!". The performance difference between Core i7/Phenom II is marginal right now, but if AMD were to exit stage left, then these round ups would be VIA vs. Intel, and I don't know about you, but VIA's offerings really AREN'T fast enough for me... Consider a Phenom II, I love mine...

    I wish there is a third and fourth player in the market so AMD won't sit on its butt and do nothing. AMD has this idea that “we don’t have to compete on performance, just make our product cheap enough and people will buy it”. That’s what doomed GM and Chrysler.

    I wish Nvidia and NEC join/rejoin the CPU market.
  • 2 Hide
    Scotteq , September 8, 2009 3:27 PM
    Thank you, Toms, for the detailed Graphics comparison. Yet regarding the comments section, I have to shake my head that we're again continuing the AMD versus Intel wars.

    I thought people should have learned by now that GPU~intensive tests say little about CPUs, except whether they're 'Good Enough', or not.
  • -8 Hide
    Sardaukarz , September 8, 2009 5:26 PM
    I wonder if u will ever include WOW in ur benchmark suite. Its just a MMORPG but it happens to be the most played game on the planet, thus making it interesting for a lot of us out there who are looking on information when deciding to buy one video card vs another or one processor vs another. Thnkz.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , September 8, 2009 5:37 PM
    Pei-Chen: This article shobuld make it painfully obvious that AMD can and DOES compete on performance in games. AMD has brought plenty of innovation, even if they don't always finish first, but only for the CPU-based video rendering enthusiast does it make no sense to purchase AMD, the other 99.9% of us couldn't tell the difference in a taste test.

    PS: If you want a 3rd and 4th player, you should go discuss x86 licensing with your beloved Intel...
  • 3 Hide
    Acclaim , September 8, 2009 7:04 PM
    The only question that remains for me is how things will turn once the DirectX 11 cards are announced.

    Then, I can see x8 PCIe2.0 links hurting the P55 chipset and the X58 showing its true potential.

    This will definitely affect SLI/Crossfire setups but I am not sure how it will affect single card solutions.
  • 4 Hide
    Shadow703793 , September 8, 2009 8:04 PM
    anonymous xI like vista, rock solid and stable since I got it years ago. Don't listen to the bashers who never have tried the product.

    Agreed. Vista was pretty good after all the manufactures released the drivers. I still think Win 7 is better than XP and Vista.
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