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GeForce GTX 570 Review: Hitting $349 With Nvidia's GF110

Tessellation: HAWX 2 Gives Us Real-World Numbers

AMD’s contention with HAWX 2 was that the game doesn’t employ a realistic degree of tessellation—that it purposely loads up on geometry to showcase Nvidia’s architecture. Fortunately, you can run this one in DirectX 11 mode without tessellation to measure scaling here as well. Note, though, that there is an appreciable difference in environmental realism thanks to tessellation. If you have a DirectX 11-capable card that’s fast enough, the feature is worth turning on.

The howling probably would have resonated more soundly had AMD’s performance with tessellation turned off been more competitive. With that said, every single one of these cards exceeds 100 frames per second at 1920x1200, even with 8x MSAA enabled.

Flip the switch, though, and it’s a little easier to see why AMD is unhappy with Ubisoft’s implementation of tessellation. All of the cards remain playable. However, even the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 drops below a single GeForce GTX 470. It takes a pair of Radeon HD 6850s, with their improved tessellation engines, to crack 100 FPS.

The scaling in HAWX 2 falls somewhere in between Unigine’s Normal and Extreme settings at 1920x1200, as a percentage. Again, all of the Nvidia boards hit 72-73% of their original frame rates, suggesting that adding PolyMorph engines wouldn’t really help speed anything up here. AMD does see more scaling action. Unfortunately, the 5870 sheds half of its performance. The 6870 retains 60% of its frame rate with tessellation on. The Radeon HD 5970 falls between the two single-GPU boards.

So there we have it. A real-world demonstration of what Unigine has been showing us for months. Don’t read into it too heavily—this is only the first real-world example of heavy geometry in a DirectX 11 game, and we know it was massively influenced by Nvidia’s desire to justify some of its design decisions. But it could be a harbinger. After all, tessellation does positively affect this title’s on-screen impact.

Before we shift away from HAWX 2 and onto another bit of laboratory drama, let me just say that Ubisoft’s mechanism for playing this game is perhaps the most invasive I’ve ever seen. If you’re going to require your customers to log in to a service every time they play a game, at least make that service somewhat responsive. Waiting a minute to authenticate over a 24 Mb/s connection is ridiculous, as is waiting another 45 seconds once the game shuts down for a sync. Ubi’s own version of Steam, this is not.

  • thearm
    Grrrr... Every time I see these benchmarks, I'm hoping Nvidia has taken the lead. They'll come back. It's alllll a cycle.
    Reply
  • xurwin
    at $350 beating the 6850 in xfire? i COULD say this would be a pretty good deal, but why no 6870 in xfire? but with a narrow margin and if you need cuda. this would be a pretty sweet deal, but i'd also wait for 6900's but for now. we have a winner?
    Reply
  • nevertell
    Yay, I got highlighted !
    Reply
  • verrul
    because 2 6850s is pretty equal in price to the 570
    Reply
  • sstym
    thearmGrrrr... Every time I see these benchmarks, I'm hoping Nvidia has taken the lead. They'll come back. It's alllll a cycle.
    There is no need to root for either one. What you really want is a healthy and competitive Nvidia to drive prices down. With Intel shutting them off the chipset market and AMD beating them on their turf with the 5XXX cards, the future looked grim for NVidia.
    It looks like they still got it, and that's what counts for consumers. Let's leave fanboyism to 12 year old console owners.
    Reply
  • nevertell
    It's disappointing to see the freaky power/temperature parameters of the card when using two different displays. I was planing on using a display setup similar to that of the test, now I am in doubt.
    Reply
  • reggieray
    I always wonder why they use the overpriced Ultimate edition of Windows? I understand the 64 bit because of memory, that is what I bought but purchased the OEM home premium and saved some cash. For games the Ultimate does no extra value to them.
    Or am I missing something?
    Reply
  • reggieray
    PS Excellent Review
    Reply
  • theholylancer
    hmmm more sexual innuendo today than usual, new GF there chris? :D

    EDIT:

    Love this gem:
    Before we shift away from HAWX 2 and onto another bit of laboratory drama, let me just say that Ubisoft’s mechanism for playing this game is perhaps the most invasive I’ve ever seen. If you’re going to require your customers to log in to a service every time they play a game, at least make that service somewhat responsive. Waiting a minute to authenticate over a 24 Mb/s connection is ridiculous, as is waiting another 45 seconds once the game shuts down for a sync. Ubi’s own version of Steam, this is not.

    When a reviewer of not your game, but of some hardware using your game comments on how bad it is for the DRM, you know it's time to not do that, or get your game else where warning.
    Reply
  • amk09
    nevertellYay, I got highlighted !
    So you gonna buy it? Huh huh huh?
    Reply