Benchmark Results: Crysis
Though we still haven't seen the sort of hardware that makes Crysis playable with Ultra Quality settings, it’s high time we upped the ante a bit and used Very High options. Also, in the past, we’ve noticed very I/O-limited scores, which did a fairly poor job reflecting performance due to a constant hammering our reference system's VelociRaptor. This time we’ve switched to Intel’s second-gen SSD.
Right off the bat, we see a single Radeon HD 4870 X2 outperforming the GeForce GTX 285. But perhaps more interesting is that, with one ATI card, the Phenom II scores first place at 1680x1050, followed by the Core 2 Quad. The Core i7s and Core i5 follow after. One Nvidia single-GPU flagship yields fairly similar results across the board.
Adding SLI to the equation again shoots Nvidia to the top of the pile, as ATI simply can’t get as much scaling from a pair of Radeon HD 4870 X2s. Even more bizarre is that the ATI gets zero benefit from CrossFire on the two fastest systems with only one card installed.
Shifting over to 2560x1600 sees a single GeForce GTX 285 dip under 20 fps across all five systems, and one Radeon HD 4870 X2 sits just above that 20 fps mark. Fortunately, CrossFire and SLI both boost performance substantially, getting all of our dual-card setups up around 30 fps.
The most interesting result here is the Core i7-920, which establishes an advantage most likely attributable to its twin 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 links. If you reference back to our analysis of PCI Express connectivity, you’ll see that the results map over almost perfectly, despite the fact we were running High Quality settings there. Notice also that the AMD platform isn’t getting hammered as hard here, almost certainly a result of our switch to an SSD, which doesn’t penalize AMD as severely for the performance of its storage controller.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way first: at 1680x1050, a single GeForce GTX 285 delivers comparable performance across all five platforms. The same holds true at 2560x1600, with the exception of Intel’s Core 2 Quad-based platform, where the Nvidia card falters.
Adding SLI helps Nvidia catapult into the lead from a fairly sizable deficit at both tested resolutions and on all three compatible platforms. But while 1680x1050 becomes playable, 2560x1600 almost certainly remains out of reach, even with almost $800 worth of GPU muscle under the hood.
Our single-card tests all favor ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 X2, though again the Core 2 Quad and Phenom II machines out-score the trio of Nehalem-based configurations.
CrossFire does help the Core i7-920, but it does less for the Core i5-750 or Core i7-870 at either resolution. Beyond that, though, ATI's technology scales very poorly compared to SLI here. This wouldn’t be as disconcerting in an older title if it wasn’t a trend we’ve observed in every game thus far, save S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Fortunately, even at 1680x1050 with 4xAA, you’re still looking at fairly-playable performance.