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Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

AMD Radeon HD 7990: Eight Games And A Beastly Card For $1,000
By , Igor Wallossek

Long ago we established that Skyrim is predominantly platform-bound. Big, dual-GPU graphics cards are largely wasted on this game, which is why roughly 11 FPS separate the top and bottom finishers.

This time around, Nvidia finishes first, second, and third, albeit by a symbolically-high frame rate and an imperceptibly-low delta.

All of these cards largely track together during our 25-second run. AMD’s boards exhibit some divergence between what the cards render and what shows up on-screen. Using our FCAT analysis tools, we see that those dips are caused by dropped frames, though the impact isn’t worrying.

Skyrim is the third benchmark in our suite with deliberate tuning by AMD to optimize frame time latency. The result is a super-tight range from the Radeon HD 7990. Our 95th percentile numbers only jump because of spikes that occur intermittently throughout the run (as high as ~64 ms in one case).

Two Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire exhibit comparable 95th percentile latencies. But a wider range through the rest of the run translates to greater average and 75th percentile numbers.

The prototype software demonstrates the same tight latencies on Radeon HD 7990. Slightly lower performance could be related to the driver’s older foundation, though.

I’d call AMD’s work in Skyrim good enough to minimize any disadvantage the Radeons might have suffered previously, though it’s worth noting that Nvidia achieves lower latency numbers across the board.

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