We couldn’t ignore the release of Far Cry 2, though after several successive driver releases to improve performance in this one title, it certainly would have been nice. Bear in mind that AMD and Nvidia are both scrambling to improve their position in what promises to be a game that a great number of enthusiasts immerse themselves in.
Stunningly, our Core i7 965 Extreme machine lays down great scaling from one- to two- to 3-way SLI, peaking in excess of 100 FPS even at 2560x1600. The scores on the Core 2 Extreme box are far less compelling, though easily playable even with a single GeForce GTX 280 at 2560x1200.
The situation isn’t quite as rosy for the Radeon HD 4870s. In every test at 2560x1600, adding graphics processors actually costs frame rate. In every test except for one at 1920x1200, the same phenomenon holds true. We’re actually going back and forth with AMD for a better explanation of what’s going on here, since the latest hotfix didn’t have this effect on Crysis or Crysis: Warhead.
Ah, problem solved. Just turn on a little anti-aliasing, it seems, and AMD’s graphics subsystem start behaving a little more predictably. Although there are a couple of test settings where Far Cry 2’s built-in benchmark outright fails to compete; as a general rule, performance at 1920x1200 with 8x anti-aliasing scales very well, making a compelling case for picking up a Radeon HD 4870 X2, at least. You’ll see another substantial jump with the purchase of two, regardless if it’s a Core i7, Core 2 Extreme, or Phenom X4 on which you’re gaming.
On the flip-side, it doesn’t look like playing at 2560x1600 will be possible—at least until AMD can further optimize its drivers for the more demanding settings. For now, we’re happy enough to see the two Radeon HD 4870 X2s keeping up with the three GeForce GTX 280s at 1920x1200.
Given that Far Cry 2 belongs to Nvidia’s TWIMTBP marketing initiative, it’s hardly a surprise to see the GeForce GTX 280 already well-optimized after one publicly-available driver effort. What is surprising, however, is the performance difference between the Core i7 965 Extreme and Core 2 Extreme platforms with two- and 3-way SLI activated. There’s quite a noticeable jump from one machine to the other.
Yes, we battled the substantial amount of heat exhausted by three GeForce GTX 280s, but we simply cannot argue against the additional performance Nvidia’s technology delivers here—the scaling from one card to three at 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 is nothing short of impressive.
- Tempered Expectations
- X58 And SLI Get Busy
- Caveats, Realism, And Driver Hell
- Hardware Enthusiast’s Paradise
- Benchmark Results: World in Conflict
- Benchmark Results: Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
- Benchmark Results: Crysis 64-bit
- Benchmark Results: Crysis: Warhead
- Benchmark Results: Company of Heroes
- Benchmark Results: Unreal Tournament 3
- Benchmark Results Far Cry 2
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark Vantage
- Averaging It All Out