Benchmark Results: 3DMark Vantage
Unlike real-world games, 3DMark requires a Physics benchmark run in order to provide a full score. That benchmark runs amazingly slow using the CPU as a physics processor and incredibly fast when using the GPU. Of course, the GPU Physics feature comes in the form of PhysX, which is a proprietary Nvidia technology. 3DMark awards the added "performance points" to the CPU score, since it’s using the GPU as a CPU.
During actual game play, enabling PhysX slows the system slightly, while disabling PhysX disables advanced-physics calculations. Trading a few frames per second (FPS) for increased realism is viable for games, but judging any performance difference between competing products requires that all products support the same setting. Adding proprietary calculations removes standardization, which is a benchmark that’s supposed to be a standardized test, so we chose the Disable PPU option in 3DMark to make this an apples-to-apples comparison.
3DMark and GPU test scores favor the GeForce GTX 285 over the GTX 280 by an average of 7 to 8% percent.
CPU scores are separated by less than half of one percent, which is an expected result when the Disable PPU setting prevents benchmark inflation.
Overclocking would be nice to see what the hardware can really do; but I generally don't dabble into overclock video cards. Never seems to work out, either the card is already running hot or the slightest increase in frequency produces artifacts.
Also driver updates seem to wreak havoc with oc settings.
I have not overclocked the GTX 285 yet, I am waiting for NiBiToR v4.9 to be released so once I overclock it, I can set it permantly to the final stable clock. I am expecting to be able to hit about 730 GPU, but it could be less.
In other words, no matter how well ATI's strategy of using two smaller, cheaper GPUs in tandem instead of one huge GPU works, you will still be able to say that Nvidia is the best.
Also, why would most people who are spending $400-$450 on video cards not want a dual-card setup. Most people I know see it as a kind of bragging right, just like water-cooling your rig.
One last thing, why is it so hard to find reviews of the 4850x2?