3DMark 11: Nvidia vs AMD

By on December 8, 2010
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GTX580 vs GTX570 vs GTX480 vs HD6870 vs HD6850 vs HD5870

Enough with all the technical explanation, let’s get down to the numbers. Our test system is Intel Core i7 965EE @ 3.2GHz on an ASUS Rampage II Extreme motherboard, packing 3x 1GB Corsairs XMS3-1333 ram, a Kingston 64GB V-Series SSD running Windows 7 Ultimate; all of which is powered by a Corsair HX1000W PSU. Drivers used were Catalyst 10.10 for ASUS EAH6870 and MSI R6850, and 10.11 for Gigabyte Super Overclocked HD 5870 (@ 950MHz Core & 1250MHz Memory). Meanwhile Forceware 263.09 was used for Zotac GTX 580 & 570 and MSI N480GTX Lightning (@ 750MHz Core & 1000MHz Memory). All other cards apart from the GTX 480 and HD 5870 were running at stock speeds.

Unfortunately we didn’t have extra 3D cards on hand except the HD 6870, so there was no possibility of running extra SLi or CrossFire benchmarks. All in good time, but at least these benchmarks give us an idea of current and previous generation DirectX 11 cards and their performance.

It’s interesting to see how the GTX 570 and HD 5870 change positions between Performance and Extreme benchmarks. The GTX 580 maintains a solid lead in all single GPU tests, while the HD 6870s obviously take top position in all benchmarks, handily beating a single GTX 580 at higher resolutions.

So 3DMark 11 represents a realistic output on gaming performance, stressing your GPU(s) and CPU, with multi-threading enabled and graphical testing advanced enough that this will likely be the standard DirectX 11 benchmark for a long time. The basic version is free and doesn’t require registration, while the Advanced version provides a whole lot of customization at a very reasonable price of $19.99. I was personally a little disappointed that the graphical tests aren’t as exciting as the Jane Nash test of 3DMark Vantage or Return to Proxycon from 3DMark 06. It’s all very serious in 3DMark 11, with none of the charm of the older ones, but the good thing is that since it gets down to business immediately, all tests are done in roughly 5 minutes. At the end of the day, a benchmark software just becomes a requirement that needs to be done effectively and efficiently, and 3DMark 11 excels in that.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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