Review Index:
Feedback

Frame Rating: AMD Improves CrossFire with Prototype Driver

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: Various

DiRT 3

DiRT 3 (DirectX 11)


A continuation of the Colin McRae series, but without his name, DiRT 3 is one of the top racing games in the world and offers stunning imagery along with support for features of DirectX 11. 

Our settings for DiRT 3

View Full Size

View Full Size

More positive results from the new prototype driver compared to the 13.5 beta release with no runt frames showing up and only modest changes in the perceived frame rates. 

View Full Size

The orange masses you see in the middle are indicative of the alternating high and low frame times with runts, but you can see who the new prototype driver has improved things with no instances of runt occurrence. 

View Full Size

The 50th percentile represents the average frame rate of over our runs and you can see that both the 13.5 beta and the prototype driver on the HD 7990 start out in the 130 FPS range.  The orange line quickly drops off though after the 70th percentile but with the new prototype driver the frame rates stay much more consistent.

View Full Size

The frame variance data still tells us that the GTX 690 and GTX Titan still have the least frame to frame variance against the HD 7990 even with the new driver.  The improvement over the 13.5 beta driver is noticeable though.

 

April 23, 2013 | 09:53 PM - Posted by Randomoneh (not verified)

Wouldn't the 1-line high frames (if all the frames were 1-line high) actually convey the most information - effectively reversely simulating what is known (on cameras) as rolling shutter effect?

April 23, 2013 | 10:12 PM - Posted by Randomoneh (not verified)

Frame time [ms] chart and "Observed FPS" chart seem to contradict each other. In frame time chart, there are ~0.1 ms [partial] frames being shown which are not present in "Observed FPS" chart, probably because they would have to be up up there, somewhere around 100000 FPS if I'm not mistaken.

April 24, 2013 | 12:23 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Not sure what you are asking...?

April 24, 2013 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Randomoneh (not verified)

SFMBE
What we call "runt" frames - frames less than x lines high, are pretty useless if they come once in a while BUT if all the [partial, of course] frames were as small as possible, that would mean that you get the most information out of your display.

Let's make an example. 100x100 display, 60Hz refresh rate.

16.67, 16.67, 16.67...
would get you ~1 frame per refresh cycle

Ideal (perfect) for such a display limited by 60Hz refresh rate would be:
0.167, 0.167, 0.167... (100 partial frames per refresh cycle)

Every new (refreshed) line would contain new information, meaning display is utilized to its limits, right? When rotating fast, such framerate would produce the reversed rolling shutter effect.

April 24, 2013 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you guarantee that new information comes at a steady rate, that is a form of frame metering. If you don't guarantee, then information comes in as fast as possible but animation may be compromised like we have seen here. It's a tradeoff.

April 24, 2013 | 05:31 PM - Posted by Tim (not verified)

What you are asking of your pc is to render 100 times the framerate that it currently does, on a 100 x 100 display. Yes, the effect would be buttery smooth and would have essentially no visible tearing, ever. But nobody plays a game on a 100 x 100 display, and even at the fairly normal 1080p(1080 x 60fps to maintain one refresh per horizontal pixel line) thats a required framerate of 64,800fps. While i would like to say my PC gets 64 thousand frames per second in BF3 or Crysis3, Its simply not going to happen any time soon.

April 25, 2013 | 05:08 AM - Posted by Randomoneh

I'm not asking anything. I'm simply saying that "runt" frames or frames of small height are nothing to be afraid of. World would be a better place if all the frames were that small.

If frame intervals are fairly even, smaller is always better. 10 partial frames on a display is better than two partial frames.

April 25, 2013 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Partial frames and runts are not desirable at all. A small number of partials produce the tearing effect that everyone is familiar with. But, if every line on your display represented a discrete moment in time like a rolling shutter, you end up with the shearing or "wobble" effect associated with rolling shutters in digital cameras.

April 25, 2013 | 02:21 PM - Posted by Randomoneh

"you end up with the shearing or "wobble" effect associated with rolling shutters in digital cameras."

Yes, that's what I wrote before and that's better than one frame per refresh cycle.

April 26, 2013 | 06:36 PM - Posted by Tim (not verified)

Along these lines, it would be cool to see a monitor technology capable of variable refresh rate, such that it can refresh upon each new complete frame from the GPU, giving dynamic V-Sync to the monitor based on GPU frames, not the other way around.

April 24, 2013 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Randomoneh (not verified)

Hey, even John Carmack is talking about it here. Search for "rolling shutter" inside the article.

Hope you'll reply with your views. Thanks.

April 23, 2013 | 10:25 PM - Posted by derz

Such a thorough analysis. Good job!

April 24, 2013 | 12:21 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks!

April 23, 2013 | 11:29 PM - Posted by Fishbait

Man Ryan, those video comparisons show a difference of night and day. I congratulate you on doing something incredible, you made an impact in the industry. I am very impressed!

April 24, 2013 | 12:23 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks, it was really annoying ot be accused of bias or making stuff up, but I think now that AMD is starting to address it directly, we are more or less vindicated.  

April 24, 2013 | 12:47 AM - Posted by mdgreat (not verified)

but how wrong do you think it is of them to release a card that they know has problems. you asked them to delay the release and they released it anyway knowing what they know, you can sugar coat it anyway you want but don't you think that's a little corrupt of them, knowing some people will buy those cards and have no clue their buying something they are not getting as advertised..

April 24, 2013 | 01:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, there's nothing really wrong with the hardware. It appears that AMD will be able to fix the issues in due time. If you assume that's true, then people will be able to get the performance that the cards are truly capable sometime in the future. I'm not saying it's completely the right thing to do, but hopefully the kind of person buying a $1000 graphics card does their due diligence and knows what they're getting into.




Let's not forget though that GPUs can be used for more than just gaming. When used for compute applications, the driver problems that AMD has is a non-issue.

April 25, 2013 | 12:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Their compute drivers and software are crap too, so you're wrong.

April 28, 2013 | 09:06 AM - Posted by Revdarian (not verified)

-.- if AMD's compute drivers are crap, then i don't want to know what are Nvidia's because as of late, Nvidia gets trounced on OpenCL computing.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-titan-opencl-cuda-workst...

April 24, 2013 | 06:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You were always vindicated, except the part about sitting on the info for a full year, giving the amd fanboys the most gigantic break they could ever have hoped to acquire.

Rest well, those of us without the quite severe mental problems already knew all about this years ago, and there are those who will not ever come clean, in their minds, and face reality, and their number is legion.
Remember one of the Ten is - do not falsely accuse thy neighbor - so this is a much more common occurrence than most of us would like to recognize.

I congratulate you for actually forcing the change upon the stubborn you know whoms (amd and their entourage of fanboys)... which by the way, will soon be singing ANOTHER TUNE.

That new sirens song, will be glory and praise on high, to the fps gods, and new rash of verdetrol addiction will no doubt descend upon this and all other similar websites.

Then, though you won't often get direct praise, it will be clear that your "harsh and hate filled bias against amd!!!" will have produced the results the little raging card moaners declared to be the case near serveral years ago - "superior amd hardware!!!" as the fps tales will indeed, as the preliminary shows, loft the broken runted zero dropper card(s) into the lead.

Oh happy days, that will come, after END OF LIFE for amd.
*snicker, it couldn't be sicker amd*

Yes, when the amd cards are finally EOL, the drivers will be "fixed for the moment" and the endless worshipful amd slave will slobber all over you, profusely, in gratitiude.
I'm certain you can hardly wait.

April 24, 2013 | 07:42 PM - Posted by CompetitionFanBoy (not verified)

I'm sure only one graphics card manufacturer will only produce the greatest cards, and be driven to develop big thing because you know monopolies always turn out the best for the consumer.

April 25, 2013 | 12:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Don't worry, we have seen that no matter how bad amd gets, a thousand fanboys are screaming for they are the very best.

This latest fail has been years in the running, and this very site sat on it for nearly a year, then was harshly accused of bias for nVidia, since the amd fanboys are so clueless and lazy and don't read, or if they do, their emotions immediately replace any common sense they could muster with the utmost effort.

Yes, you don't need to worry, amd made certain it had loads of hate filled raging amd fanboys, and that brainwashing is not wearing off, ever.

May 27, 2013 | 08:53 AM - Posted by innocent bystander (not verified)

Wow such vehemence... I am reminded of high school and watching the awkward dweeb giggle at his own uncomfortably dull insults. I wonder what horrors you suffered at the hands of an AMD fanboy to instill you with such vitriol. What ever the injustice it has inspired you with a remarkably irrational hatred... Without AMD, nvidia would be selling all their cards at similar premium to their new GTX 780. I personally prefer Nvidia because of their drivers but lately, price and the great game bundles have me thinking of giving AMD a chance for a generation. This is precisely why AMD being healthy is a obvious benefit to all consumers. But regardless you will have plenty of opportunities to hate on AMD and AMD users since now all three major consoles have big red technology under the hood...

June 12, 2013 | 01:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

DUDE, relax. It's just a video card manufacturer. It's not this serious. Not even a little bit.

April 24, 2013 | 01:29 AM - Posted by tekk (not verified)

i read a small tidbit from the techpowerup 7990 review that mentioned these drivers will only be in windows 8 flavor. is that true?

April 24, 2013 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

No, that is not correct.  When AMD sent this to press it was initially Windows 8 only but they sent a Windows 7 version on Friday/Saturday.

The fix will definitely be for both Win7 and Win8!

April 24, 2013 | 01:38 AM - Posted by Nigel (not verified)

Great work again Ryan! I was wondering if the prototype driver has improved frame latency for single cards as well?

April 24, 2013 | 08:29 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

No, I would say not.  The algorithm that AMD has created for this prototype is very specific to multi-GPU and to single monitor configurations.

April 24, 2013 | 02:04 AM - Posted by Sublym3 (not verified)

Top stuff Ryan

Those videos are (as mentioned above) night and day. AMD must be kicking themselves they didn't see this sooner.

And if I am reading the graphs right they didn't lose any performance in the FPS metric either.

When these drivers are official and work with Eyefinity I will buy the best AMD card available.

Though it is still very worrying that AMD drivers take so long to adapt to their new hardware, have they even updated the memory side of the drivers for GCN yet?

April 24, 2013 | 06:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Unfortunately. the "newest amd card" will always have the latest renewed and unprecedented set of multiple driver fiasco problems.

Go for EOL amd, then at least the gigantic industrially misshapen driver iron has been pressing away multiple flattenings and rewrinklings into that amd game card fabric, and by chance with a very stiff shot of starch under your collar you'll be fine grimacing and bearing it.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.