AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64 is more than eight times faster than its 10-year-old Radeon HD 3870 at 1920x1080.
Clearly, though, Crysis isn’t graphics-bound at these settings (nor is it host processing- or memory-bound—we checked). Instead, the game scales up aggressively through Radeon R9 290X, yielding a ~7.5x speed-up in the six years between Radeon HD 3870 and R9 290X. Impressive!
The biggest jump happens between Radeon HD 6970 and 7970, when AMD switched from its VLIW4-based TeraScale 3 architecture to the RISC single instruction, multiple thread Graphics Core Next design. The 7970’s Tahiti GPU boasts about 1.63x the number of transistors as 6970’s Cayman, boosting performance by roughly 1.65x in the process. Alright, so Tahiti also enjoyed the advantage of 28nm manufacturing. But it nevertheless went down in history as a big step forward for the company, despite stiff competition from Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 600-series cards back in 2012.
Although we’re not necessarily pitting AMD against Nvidia in today’s little exhibition, so many historical battles are repeated with the charts next to each other. Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 are at each other’s throats…again. GeForce GTX 580 has the edge over Radeon HD 6970, just as it did seven years ago. Radeon HD 4870 even trails GeForce GTX 280 by a hair, mirroring our findings from 2008!
Nvidia’s top-end cards are bottlenecked at 1920x1080, just like AMD’s. However, the ceiling is higher.
From the 2006-era 8800 GTX to the 2015 flagship 980 Ti, GeForce cards speed up ~7.4x.
Not that we had any doubt, but at 1920x1080, both AMD and Nvidia offer several generations of graphics cards that make Crysis playable at its lushest quality settings. Does the same apply after dialing in 8x anti-aliasing? Let’s check…
8x Anti-Aliasing Results
Switching on anti-aliasing (four samples per pixel, quality mode eight) does little to brutalize AMD’s many generations of flagships, cutting a few frames per second, on average, from our results. Lower-end cards maintain 90% of their performance with anti-aliasing applied, while Vega 64 achieves 96% of its original frame rate. You’re still looking at playable averages all the way down to Radeon HD 7970.
Despite a similar 8x anti-aliasing setting, Nvidia cards take a much bigger hit.
Then again, it’s hard to know exactly what technology is being used on the jaggies in this sequence; Crytek's settings aren't explicit on the matter. For the purposes of our exhibition, we’ll simply refrain from drawing comparisons between AMD and Nvidia. In a newer game, we’d perform a deeper analysis of output quality to ensure both companies are delivering similar fidelity. But it's kind of a moot point with Crysis.
Lower frame rates aside, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti remains bottlenecked at this relatively low resolution. A more taxing workload extends the difference between GeForce GTX 780 Ti and 980 Ti, though. Without AA, the 980 Ti was just 11% faster. Enabling anti-aliasing grows GM200’s advantage to almost 34%.
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