Synthetic tests are nice for many reasons; they offer an easy to use repeatable standard for testing. Most are readily available for free on the internet and can be used by anyone. But unfortunately they rarely tell the full story. Still they are an important part of the story and need to be included in any testing. Our typical synthetic tests are Futuremark’ s 3DMark Vantage, Furmark, Stalker Call of Pripyat, Direct Compute, and Unigine’s Heaven benchmark for both DX10 and DX11. With these three tests we can give you a good idea of base performance of the GPU in question.3DMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is one of the benchmarks that everyone knows. It is used commonly for bragging rights. If you have the highest score, you win. The suite of tests covers the gamut of DX9, DX10, AI and Physics processing that you would normally see in gaming. We will run both the performance test as well as pushing the cards to complete the Extreme test run as well.
Well that is impressive; the GTX580 manages to outperform even the dual GPU 5970 in 3DMark Vantage and it can do it without PhysX enabled. The actual 3DMark Scores are close, but look at the GPU scores here. The GTX580 wins by over 4,000 points which could be a good sign for some of our later tests.
We see a very similar result with the Extreme test run although the margin this time is only 2,000 GPU points.Unigine Heaven [DX 10 and DX11]
Unigine’s Heaven bench was one of the first tests that offered a good measure of DX11 performance. Although we now have DX11 cards from both AMD and nVidia we are still going to maintain the DX10 runs just to see how these GPUs handle the more bulky DX10 Code.
In our DX11 run the GTX580 pulls out ahead again. This time the margin for victory is much smaller than we saw with 3DMark. Here there is a gap of less than 1FPS and 24 points between the GTX580 and the HD5970.
The DX10 run tells a different tale. The GTX580 is quite a bit behind the HD5970 in both FPS and points. We are wondering if the DX10 ‘bug’ we have been seeing in the 4xx series GPUs is showing up in the 5xx now. Stalker Call Of Pripyat Bench [DX10 and DX11]
The Stalker Call of Pripyat test uses the stalker rendering engine and images. It is capable of emulating the most common effects from DX11 and DX10 in a run of different scenes. We ran our GPUs through both and have recorded the average frame rate below. We sorted this bench by the ‘SunShafts’ test as it appeared to be the toughest on the GPUs in question.
Ok, wow. The GTX580 does VERY well with the COP bench and DX11. It does lag a little behind in the Sun Shafts test [as does everyone else] but in the other three it is more than comparable and beats the HD5970 in two of them [Rain and Night]
And the ugly DX10 bug crawls back through the cracks. Just looking at the performance here it is a little embarrassing. The GTC580 comes in slower than the HD5850 in terms of DX10 performance with this bench. Of course this is a benchmark that was at least partially subsidised by AMD, so that could be part of it… Synthetics Recapped
If we take the DX11 and 3DMark Vantage scores all by themselves it looks like nVidia has this one in the bag. After all, the GTX580 scores quite well on the DX11 tests; especially with Tessellation running. However, when you put DX10 into the mix [with the exception of 3DMark Vantage] things get a little different. The GTX580 and all of the other nVidia GPUs drop behind by quite a large margin. We are not entirely sure that this is bench specific as this has appeared across multiple driver revisions from nVidia. In all reality it could be an indication of a problem with DX10 code. We are trying to find out the source of this with nVidia and will let you know once we do find anything out.
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