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Benchmark Results: Unreal Tournament 3

Core i7: 4-Way CrossFire, 3-way SLI, Paradise?

Talk about the squirreliest benchmark of all time. Although Unreal Tournament 3 introduces insane variance into testing and often needs to be run five or six times just to establish a clear trend, its Unreal Engine 3 is the centerpiece for a number of other titles and necessitates a more in-depth look.

A couple of patterns pop out immediately here. First of all, there’s a definite price to be paid for running a 512 MB graphics card nowadays. That much memory might cut it at 1920x1200 and under, but make the jump to 30” displays running 2560x1600 and you need big boy toys able to make big boy noise.

Don’t get carried away, though. Two cards seem to be the sweet spot here, as there are several instances where Nvidia’s 3-way SLI and AMD’s quad CrossFireX arrangements actually give up performance in examples of negative scaling.

AMD and Nvidia continue fighting fiercely in Unreal Tournament 3 with the detail settings cranked up. Clearly, you’ll want a card with at least 1 GB of onboard memory given the performance of a single Radeon HD 4870 at 2560x1600. Outliers aside, even the lowest scores here are still good for reasonable game play, though.

For the most part, two cards again seems like the way to go.

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