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ATI Radeon HD 5870: DirectX 11, Eyefinity, And Serious Speed

Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2

We were a bit surprised when Far Cry 2 favored the Radeon HD 4870 X2 over ATI’s Radeon HD 5870. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295 usurps the new single-GPU card, too. But the GeForce GTX 285 cannot keep up (not that it’s a huge problem yet, as the GTX 285 manages more than 50 frames per second even at 2560x1600).

Unlike Crysis, where ATI didn’t scale very well moving from one to two Radeon HD 5870s, the technology demonstrates much better results here, quite nearly doubling performance. Nvidia also sees good SLI scaling going from one GeForce GTX 285 to two, but by the time you’re running at 2560x1600, there’s a nearly 40 frame difference between the competitors.

As you can see, we’ve stepped our Far Cry 2 testing up to Ultra Quality settings. But even then, the Radeon HD 4870 1GB delivers fairly smooth performance all the way up to 1920x1200. Turning on anti-aliasing should have a bigger impact on graphics performance, though.

Indeed, demanding 8xAA from these cards has a much more profound impact on performance. The single-GPU Radeon HD 4800-series cards are no longer considered fluid at any resolution, and even the 4870 X2 chokes up at 2560x1600. Nvidia’s cards fare much better, and the GeForce GTX 285 is the only board to choke up a bit at 2560x1600.

Yet again, ATI’s anti-aliasing enhancements shine through. In the previous chart, the Radeon HD 5870 was getting its backside handed to it by the 4870 X2. Now it’s the 5870 on top though, and a pair of the cards kicks things into high gear with playable performance all the way up to 2560x1600. The two GTX 285s can’t quite catch ATI’s latest, though it’s worth noting that you can still get playable performance at 2560x1600 using a duo of Nvidia’s quickest single-GPU boards. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive showing from ATI, improving the way its own hardware behaves at high resolutions and with intense detail settings enabled.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.