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Dual-GPU Battle: Does Frame Pacing In Catalyst 13.8 Turn The Tide?

Results: Crysis 3

We begin with Crysis 3, a title that's well known for its high-quality graphics and substantial performance requirements.

According to our measure of average and minimum frame rates, frame pacing does little. But the feature really isn't intended to affect the averages much. What we want to see is consistent performance levels, and a smoother gaming experience.

Charting frame rate over time shows that the 13.6 driver tends to have an edge over 13.8, perhaps a result of frame pacing adding small delays in an attempt to smooth out the cadence at which the Radeon HD 7990 puts frames on-screen. This accounts for the small drop in average frame rate.

Now, when we look at frame time variance, which tells us the difference between the time it takes to display a frame compared to the average time it takes to display the frames before and after it. This is the data we're most interested in, given the purpose of frame pacing.

And indeed, we see a significant impact. I don't want to give away too much, but there's going to be a part two of this story going live tomorrow where volunteer gamers weigh in on their experiences with Radeon HD 7990 and GeForce GTX 690. Although there are variables that make my objective exploration different from that piece, you're going to see definitive correlation between the reduction of frame time variance observed here and the opinions of gamers who play Crysis 3 on both graphics cards, not knowing which one is which.

Until then, here's a video to show what I saw in each of the three scenarios above:

The differences are subtle, and because this is a manual walk-through (by necessity), there may be differences of opinion in the audience. But from my point of view, Catalyst 13.8 does appear smoother than Catalyst 13.6 in Crysis 3. The GeForce GTX 690 appears roughly as smooth as the Radeon HD 7990 with frame pacing enabled.