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Benchmarks: Avatar

Comparison: Factory-Overclocked Versus Reference Graphics

Avatar is a 3D shooter that takes you to the movie’s planet Pandora. Here you have to collect experience points and steer vehicles. The game is based on the Dunia engine, like Far Cry 2, and creates impressive DirectX 10 effects. In addition, there is support for Havok’s physics engine, which was implemented for the planet’s flora--check it out by shooting at leaves or by walking over them.

We set the graphics options to ultra high quality, which also turns up texture filtering. This global setting remains and modifying the resolution only impacts anti-aliasing. We benchmarked at up to 8x anti-aliasing; at 1920x1200 this requires more than 512 MB of video memory.

Our test scene usually shows medium frame rates. Explosions and fire may noticeably reduce performance. The graphics boards are between 85 and 100% GPU load. One CPU core is between 52 and 68% load; the others typically between 25 and 43%.

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  • 5 Hide
    chrissmartin , July 25, 2010 11:30 AM
    i will buy a normal card with good cooling and overclock it.
  • 3 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 25, 2010 11:59 AM
    Too less performance gain (4-5 FPS) for the too much extra price paid ($50-$70) along with too much increase in power consumption (30-40 W. Better to buy a reference card unless you want the best no matter what the price is.
  • 1 Hide
    Mark Heath , July 25, 2010 12:53 PM
    I like the idea behind the article and I'm glad that there's been some testing done on it, but I don't really like the article itself.

    There are references to how much the reference card is overclocked by, but there is no clear section about it, you started off with some of the summary charts, instead of putting them after the initial tests and you kept switching what cards you were comparing, with less warning than I would like..

    Plus there's that 2GB 5850. Is that really a 2GB 5850, or is it actually 2GB 5830, because it kept getting beaten by the 1GB 5850..

  • 1 Hide
    Onus , July 25, 2010 1:27 PM
    When I buy a new GPU, I look for one who's reference clocks make it "good enough" as-is; but I do look for a better / quieter cooler.
  • 0 Hide
    mrhoshos96 , July 25, 2010 2:01 PM
    great article but u should have compared the reference against the sapphire vapor-x
  • 8 Hide
    Tesla1483 , July 25, 2010 2:31 PM
    In order to their products apart, third-party vendors take reference GPUs...

    I'm guessing they meant "In order to SET their products apart..."
    Seriously, it's the first sentence in the article. Does no one proof read anything here? Isn't that like the first thing you learn when you want to become a writer? Sorry, rant over.
  • 0 Hide
    youssef 2010 , July 25, 2010 9:23 PM
    "This cooling concept works pretty well, as it not only provides effective graphics component cooling, but it also helps to remove warm air from the inside of your PC. "

    The reference 5870 has a vent on its side so, it doesn't completely remove the hot air from the case but recirculates a part of the hot air back into the case
  • 1 Hide
    duk3 , July 26, 2010 3:01 AM
    It's a 5850, look how close the framerates are.
    The amount of ram doesn't really matter at these resolutions.
  • 4 Hide
    LLJones , July 26, 2010 4:28 AM
    The cards just do not offer enough gain. If you can afford the overclock edition at a premium, then save up a little more and get the next card up or buy two of the next lower cards. The $1000+ dual 5870 from Asus shows what a complete waste of money some, not all, super OC cards are.

    Try this, put together a really really really premium card component wise, and then don't put any cooling on it. Let me decide what I am going to do for cooling and companies can save on packaging, shipping etc due to no cooler.

    If your really aiming at the OC crowd and not just playing a game of marketing, then you know the first thing someone does is to rip off your factory cooler to replace it or at the very least put quality thermal compound on it.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , July 26, 2010 6:34 AM
    I like this article, thanks tom.
  • 0 Hide
    bildo123 , July 26, 2010 4:25 PM
    jtt283When I buy a new GPU, I look for one who's reference clocks make it "good enough" as-is; but I do look for a better / quieter cooler.

    Best suggestion, wait for the manufacture to slap on some after market cooling and pay the extra for something useful. It wasn't like this in the past, but now-a-days they like putting on HSF setups that do a relatively poor job.
  • 0 Hide
    kirillian , July 26, 2010 5:11 PM
    You may not have noticed silicondoc, but this past year, NVIDIA really hasn't been bringing its A-game to the table, mostly trying to use marketing to make up for its failures...right now, Red really is performing better in a price/performance setting. There's really little that any honest individual can do to deny that, fan or Red OR's not Tom's Hardware that's falling down, it's NVIDIA at the moment. Maybe the next gen will be better, but no one knows yet.
  • 0 Hide
    kirillian , July 26, 2010 5:17 PM
    kirillianThere's really little that any honest individual can do to deny that, fan or Red OR Green...

    Edit: of Red OR Green...
  • 0 Hide
    Adroid , July 26, 2010 6:37 PM
    I have started buying cards from vendors that warranty overclock like EGVA. I paid 159$ for a GTX 260 216 core after rebate well over a year ago, then when I am gaming I use the EVGA precision tool to overclock it to the higher priced cards core / shader speed.

    Its funny because mine will do the exact speed as the factory "superclocked" card's settings at the press of a button - all under lifetime warranty.

    My card before this one was a Radeon, I'm a total unloyal customer. I'm sure they have some similar deals, but EVGA has definetely earned my business when it comes to Nvidia stuff...
  • 0 Hide
    firedust , July 26, 2010 9:01 PM
    I definitely would have liked to see the 460 on here. So far the reviews have been very good.
  • 1 Hide
    itpro , July 26, 2010 11:16 PM
    Wow, you nVidia uberfans really get your panties in a bunch over nothing! The premise of this article was valid: Comparing factory over clocked cards against standard cards. Yes, they chose to compare a mature product in the 5870 rather than a brand new to market nVidia, but the premise was still valid.

    Yes, some of us DO prefer ATI cards over nVidia. So what? For the last two years nVidia has done little more than offer up old cards with new model numbers on them trying to convince us that they were still a competitor, while ATI pushed the envelope in performance, price, and power efficiency. Even now, when nVidia has finally gotten their new chipset out the door and is finally offering a competitive performing card they are still too expensive for what you get and use enough juice to heat a small home.

    If nVidia spins your wheels, then that is fine with me. Personally, I have had more than enough of their crappy drivers and overheating cards to last me a life time.
  • 2 Hide
    d-block , July 27, 2010 12:18 AM
    What kind of moron puts a 5870 in a 32 bit machine? That test pc setup is complete garbage.
  • 2 Hide
    Sykar , July 27, 2010 12:42 AM
    d-blockWhat kind of moron puts a 5870 in a 32 bit machine? That test pc setup is complete garbage.

    more to the point, who the hell in their right mind buys/uses a 32-bit OS anyways?
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , July 27, 2010 12:43 AM
    What kind of moron puts a 5870 in a 32 bit machine? That test pc setup is complete garbage.

    What kind of person thinks it would make a difference?
  • -1 Hide
    Poisoner , July 27, 2010 4:52 PM
    silicondockirillian, you sad, sad person. Every website in the world has declared the GTX460 the current best bang for the buck PERIOD. You talk about honesty, yet you post the most blatantly dishonest crap of the day one from the red team could cook up. What a sick joke. Just forget it, live in your insane fantasy world of lies and be happy. My God.

    Wow, you must be off your meds. Tom's just posted an article about the awesome SLI scaling of the 460, although it was a week late. I also believe that the lastest graphics card chart came before the GTX 460, although the other GF400s are on the chart.

    As far as the 480 and the 470, I don't think they use that much more power than previous generation cards, or create that much more heat either. I'd say that EVERY review site under rates the higher end Fermi cards. No one seems to get that besides gaming, they are absolute folding MONSTERS. If I folded, I wouldn't use anything less than a 470. To bad nVidia doesn't have an AMD chipset that was in my price range when I was buying a motherboard.
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