Test Setup And Benchmarks
|Processors||Intel Core i7-980X (Gulftown) 3.33 GHz at 3.73 GHz (28 * 133 MHz), LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X58A-UD5 (LGA 1366) Intel X58/ICH10R, BIOS FB|
|Memory||Kingston 6 GB (3 x 2 GB) DDR3-2000, KHX2000C8D3T1K3/6GX @ 8-8-8-24 and 1.65 V|
|Hard Drive||Intel SSDSA2M160G2GC 160 GB SATA 3Gb/s|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GV-N580D5-15I GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB|
|Row 5 - Cell 0||Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 1.5 GB|
|Row 6 - Cell 0||Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 1.25 GB|
|Row 7 - Cell 0||AMD Radeon HD 5970 2 GB|
|Row 8 - Cell 0||AMD Radeon HD 5870 1 GB|
|Row 9 - Cell 0||AMD Radeon HD 6870 1 GB|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master UCP-1000 W|
|System Software And Drivers|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit|
|Graphics Driver||AMD Catalyst 10.10|
|Row 15 - Cell 0||Nvidia GeForce Release 260.99 (For GTX 480 and 470)|
|Row 16 - Cell 0||Nvidia GeForce Release 262.99 (For GTX 580)|
In addition to our open-air test bench, which is fine for collecting performance data, but insufficient for gauging heat or acoustic performance (especially in an SLI/CrossFire configuration), Kelt Reeves at Falcon Northwest shipped us a prototype Mach V-series PC in his Icon 2 chassis, which has been an ongoing work since 2002. You'll notice that this thing has a very SilverStone-like look to it, and that's because SilverStone borrowed a number of its design elements when the company was contracted to build this thing. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Kelt should be feeling pretty loved right about now.
The Icon 2 won't be available for another month or so, but if you're planning a high-end system purchase with holiday money, this chassis will become an option in the fairly near future, and it has clearly been a labor of love. Compartmentalized to isolate heat and improve cooling (the shipping version employs a a divider between the fan and grommet in the fan deck shot below), the GPUs are kept separate from the rest of the platform. In our particular setup, an Intel Core i7-980X overclocked to 4.2 GHz is cooled with an Asetek 570LC setup in a push/pull config to maximize cooling.
The Mach V made it perfectly clear how big of a difference there is between GeForce GTX 480 and 580. While the 480s would clearly spin up under load, generating a distracting amount of noise, even under load, the 580s were quieter than the 120 mm Scythe exhaust fan on the prototype machine's I/O panel.
|Lost Planet 2||Highest Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1900x1200 / 2560x1600, DirectX 11, Steam version|
|Just Cause 2||Highest Quality Settings, No AA / 16xAF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Bokeh filter and GPU water disabled (for Nvidia cards), Concrete Jungle Benchmark|
|Metro 2033||Medium Settings, AAA / 16x AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Built-in Benchmark, Steam version|
|DiRT 2||Ultra High Settings, 4x AA / No AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Steam version, Custom benchmark script, DX11 Rendering|
|Aliens Vs. Predator Benchmark||Highest Quality Settings, SSAO, No AA / 16xAF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600|
|Battlefield: Bad Company 2||Custom (Highest) Quality Settings, 8x MSAA / 16xAF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, opening cinematic, 145 second sequence, FRAPS|
|3DMark Vantage||Performance Default, PPU Disabled|
|Civilization 5||Highest Quality Settings, No AA, 1920x1080, Demo Version, Leader benchmark, Map View test (zoom in and zoom out)|
If the 6850 and 6870 have shown one thing.. they are much better then the last gen in many ways (power, noise and scaling) and the cayman is much more robust then the barts. So, before you start calling a winner here, wait and see. That is my advise.
A single GPU nearly outperforming a 5970 is quite a statement. Wonder if AMD has what it takes to answer this as the 6850 IMPO is pretty disappointing other then the price.
We'll see what the 69xx have to offer. NVIDIA releasing now puts somewhat of a time constraint on AMD though. If it takes them too long to get something out the door, even some people waiting now may just get the 580 for christmas.
By the way, i know you guys decided to drop crysis, and i can understand that, but given that this is a high end card, maybe you should have considered it, since frankly anyone buying a card like this would probably want it for crysis more than anything else. A 6870 is more than enough for the others.
With ATI's meat-and-gravy bits of the 6000 series on the launchpad, you'd be an idiot to buy one of these at this price.