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Core i7: 4-Way CrossFire, 3-way SLI, Paradise?

Benchmark Results: Unreal Tournament 3

Talk about the squirreliest benchmark of all time. Although Unreal Tournament 3 introduces insane variance into testing and often needs to be run five or six times just to establish a clear trend, its Unreal Engine 3 is the centerpiece for a number of other titles and necessitates a more in-depth look.

A couple of patterns pop out immediately here. First of all, there’s a definite price to be paid for running a 512 MB graphics card nowadays. That much memory might cut it at 1920x1200 and under, but make the jump to 30” displays running 2560x1600 and you need big boy toys able to make big boy noise.

Don’t get carried away, though. Two cards seem to be the sweet spot here, as there are several instances where Nvidia’s 3-way SLI and AMD’s quad CrossFireX arrangements actually give up performance in examples of negative scaling.

AMD and Nvidia continue fighting fiercely in Unreal Tournament 3 with the detail settings cranked up. Clearly, you’ll want a card with at least 1 GB of onboard memory given the performance of a single Radeon HD 4870 at 2560x1600. Outliers aside, even the lowest scores here are still good for reasonable game play, though.

For the most part, two cards again seems like the way to go.

  • randomizer
    SLI scales so nicely on X58.
    Reply
  • DFGum
    Yep, i hafta say being able to switch brands of graphics cards on a whim and selling off the old is great. Knowing im going to be getting the preformance these cards are capable of (better price to preformance ratio) is nice also.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    randomizerSLI scales so nicely on X58.
    Hey you even got a "First" in there Randomizer!
    Reply
  • randomizer
    cangeliniHey you even got a "First" in there Randomizer!And modest old me didn't even mention it. :lol:
    Reply
  • enewmen
    Still waiting for the 4870 X2s to be used in these bechmarks. I thought THG got a couple for the $4500 exteme system. But still happy to see articles like this so early!
    Reply
  • cangelini
    enewmenStill waiting for the 4870 X2s to be used in these bechmarks. I thought THG got a couple for the $4500 exteme system. But still happy to see articles like this so early!
    Go check out the benchmark pages man! Every one with 1, 2, 4 4870s. The 2x and 4x configs are achieved with X2s, too.

    Oh, and latest drivers all around, too. Crazy, I know! =)
    Reply
  • enewmen
    cangeliniI found it, just read the article too quickly. - My bad.
    "A single Radeon HD 4870 X2—representing our 2 x Radeon HD 4870 scores—is similarly capable of scaling fan speed on its own. "
    Hope to see driver updates like you said.
    Reply
  • spyde
    Hi there, my question regarding these benchmarks with the HD card is, "was a 2G card use or a 1G". I am about to buy a new system and was looking to buy 2 x HD4870X2 2G cards, but with these results its looking a bit ify. I hope you can answer my question.
    Cheers.
    Reply
  • Proximon
    That's a nice article. I especially like the way the graphs are done. everything is scaled right, and you get an accurate representation.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    These are 2GB cards =)
    Reply