Results: F1 2012 And Tomb Raider
Unlike our canned Metro: Last Light benchmark, F1 2012 and Tomb Raider don’t generate their own frame rate-over-time charts. With fewer images on a page, I bundled both tests together.
High Quality isn’t an adequate preset for gauging high-end graphics performance in F1 2012, since the game is either CPU- or RAM-limited all the way through 5760x1080. That's surprising given our 4.5 GHz CPU and DDR3-2133 CAS 9 memory. But it goes to show how fast these graphics cards are.
Given the tight bottlenecks at other settings, I find F1 2012’s results at 5760x1080 using the Ultra preset incredible. I simply can’t believe that air-cooled card is being pushed hard enough to throttle back at this setting.
Tomb Raider’s overall performance reflects some of the differences we'd expect to see between air- and liquid-cooled cards at low ambient temperatures, though a broader spread at lower resolutions doesn't make as much sense.
The good news in that Tomb Raider is smooth on a single Radeon R9 290X all the way through 5760x1080. My test notes show that minimum performance doesn't drop below 34 FPS on any of the tested configurations.
$100++ from GTX 780 Ti
It has a $150 cooler (including the back plate, etc).
Of course Asus has a special cooler too. But Asus had the opportunity to drop its price, and the 290x has indeed dropped by $50 to $100 in the past two weeks. Supply is catching up with demand.
Unfortunately for PowerColor, its LCS 290X has been out-of-stock for more than two weeks. So they get stuck with prices that are at least two weeks old, at least until someone gets new inventory and lowers their price.
Sucks to be them, they should have restocked their sellers more quickly :)
But it's still cheaper than a water-cooled 780 Ti :)
Did you happen to notice any variability under load for your core speed while overclocked on the LCS card?
I have a Sapphire Tri-X OC R9 290X that is rock solid at its stock 1040MHz, but that starts bouncing the core clock all around when any core overclocking is applied.
With my quiet fan curve, load temps top out around 85°C; well below AMD's specified throttle point of 95°C.
If your liquid cooled cards are solid at 1200MHz, I am curious if Power Tune starts to throttle in a less severe way after going above 70- or 80°C.
Thanks for confirming that your test card was not throttling; back to troubleshooting my setup!
Good point; I will have to retest with a cooler fan curve.
Not sure if this will be the issue though as even a 20MHz bump to the core, and +50% power limit added to this, causes throttling with under 85°C temps.
Thanks for the thoughts!