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Assassin’s Creed v1.02

Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared
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Ed.: The following tests were performed with different drivers and CPUs. After the chip name and the memory size of the benchmarked configuration, you’ll see the driver version. It’s pretty self-explanatory—8.10 stands for AMD’s Catalyst 8.10 package and 180.42 means Nvidia GeForce version 180.42. After that, you’ll see the CPU that was used. X68 = Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme Edition at 2.93 GHz (comparable to E6750 and E8200) or 3.47 GHz; E85 = Core 2 Duo E8500 at 3.8 GHz; QX = Core 2 Quad QX6850 at 3.67 GHz. Overclocked video cards are labeled with “OC.”

The GeForce GTX 260 SLI and GTX 280 in their single-card and SLI arrangements perform better with an overclocked quad-core CPU in all resolutions. As a single card, the GeForce GTX 260 is taken close to its limits. If you speed up the CPU clock speed by another 200 MHz it realizes its full potential.

The Radeon HD 4850 benefits from an overclocked quad-core CPU only at low resolutions. Above 1920x1200, it reaches its limits. The Radeon HD 4870 can easily take another 500 MHz of CPU power before it maxes out.

The dual-chip cards from AMD and Nvidia are far from their limits. The HD 4870 X2 shows identical frame rates in different resolutions, which indicates that its being held back by CPU horsepower. An overclocked quad-core CPU does not provide enough power for the 3D card.

The Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 is also limited by the CPU at low resolutions, but it uses the power from the quad-core best, earning the best frame rates in the lineup. Overall, it seems that any dual-chip configuration, be it a pair of cards running in CrossFire/SLI or two GPUs on the same board, are limited by CPU muscle. Even overclocked CPUs can’t give them enough to showcase the extent of their capabilities.

Driver Comparison: Catalyst 8.9 Versus Catalyst 8.10 w/ Radeon HD 4870 X2

In Assassin’s Creed, you don’t see a significant difference between the graphics drivers, but that is likely due to measurement tolerances.

Assassin’s Creed in fps 1280
0xAA
1680
0xAA
1920
0xAA
1280
4xAA
1680
4xAA
1920
4xAA
Overall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 65.4 66.9 67.5 51.3 52.2 52.8 356.1
HD 4870 X2 8.9 QX@3.67 65.9 66.4 68.8 51.9 50.7 51.3 355.0
Performance difference in percent -0.8 0.8 -1.9 -1.2 3.0 2.9 0.3

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