Results: Crysis 3
It’s a good thing that we have so much information at our disposal. Otherwise, the average frame rates in Crysis 3 would confound us. On one hand, we see two Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire rendering more than 46 FPS, but giving us a more modest 23.4 FPS once we remove dropped and runt frames. On the other, AMD’s Radeon HD 7990 yields a similarly poor 22.3 FPS in both the hardware and practical frame rate measurements. Then, we install the prototype Catalyst driver and get chart-topping results.
It isn’t clear why the Radeon HD 7990’s hardware and practical frame rates are so low from this chart. But when we drill down into the raw frame times, we see the dual-GPU flagship bouncing between very precise ~35 and ~50 ms frames, occasionally jumping to ~65 ms. This is being done deliberately, perhaps to circumvent the severe number of runts encountered by the CrossFire config. Radeon HD 7990 surprisingly encounters few drops or runts at all, instead simply suffering low all-around frame rates.
Perhaps the prototype driver suggests what AMD would like to see in the long-term. It does drop some frames and cut others off prematurely (indicated by the divergent dotted line). However, we clearly see it’s much more competitive against Nvidia’s hardware.
We expect a single GPU to serve up the lowest variance between successive frames, and GeForce GTX Titan delivers. Two GTX 680s in SLI leverage Nvidia’s metering technology to achieve solid numbers as well.
Meanwhile, a range from about 5 to 45 ms really hurts the Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire. The strangely specific peaks and valleys between 35 and 50 ms help keep the 7990’s frame time variance and check. But it’s the prototype driver we should probably be looking forward to most.