Synthetic TestsSynthetic benchmarks often prove to be some of the most popular. They allow for direct comparisons between different cards by offering the same exact conditions during each test. These repeatable and consistent tests do not necessarily reflect exact real world usage scenarios but they do offer a glimpse into the hardware’s performance and are often able to illustrate subtle performance differences between varying hardware components and performance tweaks.3DMark 113DMark11 is the latest benchmark in Futuremark’s long line of synthetic benchmarking tools. The introduction of 3DMark11 now gives us the ability to test Tessellation, Direct Compute Physics and more. As this is one of the newest full featured benchmarks on the scene it is proving to be somewhat of a system crusher and lower frames per second and the resulting lower 3DMark score is to be expected for the time being.
In our 3DMark testing we run the hardware through two testing cycles. The first test is Performance Mode which offers a moderate test load designed to simulate modern gaming commensurate with most gaming PCs. The
second test is Extreme Mode which pushes the hardware even further with a heavy load designed to stress even the highest end gaming PCs.
The results we see from both 3DMark tests show the HD5830 Xtreme trailing the other two cards though not necessarily by a huge margin. From a straight spectator standpoint the tests ran achingly slow on all three cards which has been the norm with most video cards since 3DMark11’s launch. Given that 3DMark11 is based upon DirectX 11-only game engine that will be used in an unannounced game, currently we can consider 3DMark11 only as synthetic of a benchmark as they come. It is not surprising to see the HD5830 outpaced by its more expensive brethren, if there was a definitive performance difference we would expect to see it here.Unigine Heaven (DX11 and DX10)Unigine was one of the first to offer a true DX11 benchmark and really showcase a graphics card’s DX11 ability. As DX11 cards are just now becoming more common we still test performance in DX10 as well to give a greater overview of performance.
The Unigine Heaven tests seem to be somewhat of a mixed bag. The DX11 test generally favors NVIDIA cards and the outcome is no different here. The N460GTX clearly outpaces both AMD-based cards by a strong margin. This is attributed to the way how Fermi architecture handles Tessellation. Unlike AMD, who has eight generations of Tessellation hardware, nVidia only needed one generation to get it right. What is interesting to see is that how close the frame rates were between the two AMD cards. The HD5830 Xtreme comes within roughly 3FPS of the R6850. In viewing the benchmark run the tests for both cards appeared similar to the naked eye, in other words, if this were an actual game the user would be hard-pressed to determine which AMD card was actually being used.
The results from the DX10 test shows the lead as well as the delta’s from all three cards closing significantly. The HD5830 Xtreme is nipping at the heels of the R6850 as just 8fps slower, while the R6850 is similarly only 6.9fps behind the N460GTX.
Game SyntheticsSynthetic game benchmarks hit a little closer to the core usage scenario of a graphics card. These benchmarks are built upon the game itself and generally run a scene or series of scenes from the game in order to garner a performance score. As these benchmarks are built upon current popular gaming titles they offer a better picture of the video cards real world performance.Metro 2033First up we have Metro 2033, a game set in the post-apocalyptic former Soviet Union. Metro 2033 has become the new Crysis and while it is one of the most visually stunning games on the market it is also one of the most punishing, bringing even multiple high-end video cards to their knees. The benchmark is run at 1900x1200 resolution with all the eye-candy turned up. The test is repeated three times with the end result being an overall average frame rate measured in frames per second.
Metro 2033 is graphically demanding to say the least and with that mindset we would expect to see the HD5830 clearly trounced by its competitors, yet that’s not what we see. The HD5830 Xtreme is clearly bested by the R6850, however the HD5830 actually beats out the N460GTX, even if it is only by a single frame per second. While 1fps may not be much, the fact that the HD5830 was able to solidly compete with a card costing $60 more (without rebate) does shed some light on how application specific graphics performance can be.S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of PripyatAs the name clearly states, Call of Pripyat is set in the area around the Chernobyl disaster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster. The test can implement both DX11 and DX10 elements during a run though of separate game scenes and as we have done in the past, we have sorted this test by the Sun Shafts test as this has proved to be the most taxing on the GPU’s. DX11The Call of Pripyat benchmark hands us our second benchmarking surprise. The HD5830 Xtreme was able to eek out a win over both the R6850 and the N460GTX. The win here is not a landslide but a win nonetheless. All three cards turned in similar numbers and produced smooth framerates, with the exception of the R6850 Sun Shafts test run. As a reminder these tests are run with all the eye candy cranked up the same as we do when testing powerhouse graphics cards, no exceptions were made to the mainstream HD5830 Xtreme.We have mentioned before that Call of Pripyat in DX10 reports very low scores. This especialy goes for NVIDIA cards where we can see the scores plummet. While scores for both AMD and NVIDIA-based cards suffer under DX10, NVIDIA cards demonstrate a definitively marked drop. This current performance delta renders the DX10 version of this benchmark as unreliable and therefore useless.
Colin McRae DiRT 2
The HD5830 handled the Dirt 2 benchmark run while barely breaking a sweat. Turning in an average 62.8FPS landed it in the middle of the pack. The HD5830 was able to slightly edge out the R6850 while coming in
just a hair behind the N460GTX. With frame rates this high, performance differences between the three cards were not visible to the naked eye. Just Cause 2Just Cause 2 is a visually impressive game highlighted by bright and beautiful tropical location coupled with the sandbox style of play popularized by the Grand Theft Auto franchise. If you are looking for a great story line and visually stunning cut-scenes you will want to keep looking. The plot is thin and the banter between characters plays out with one-liners reminiscent of 80’s-era action flicks. The game features three built-in benchmarks, with Concrete Jungle providing the highest GPU workload. Average frame per second scores are reported and the results have been sorted by the Concrete Jungle test.
The HD5830 Xtreme provided solid performance throughout the benchmark run however it came in behind the other two cards. With two out of the three tests clocking in average frame rates just shy of 30fps the benchmark run appeared mostly smooth with a little lagging here and there during the more graphically intensive scenes.
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