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Frame Rating: GTX 660 vs HD 7870, plus HD 7790, HD 7850, GTX 650 Ti BOOST

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Sleeping Dogs - GTX 660 vs HD 7870

Sleeping Dogs (DirectX 11)


 

Welcome to Hong Kong, a vibrant neon city teeming with life, whose exotic locations and busy streets hide one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in the world: the Triads. In this open world game, you play the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to take down the Triads from the inside out. You'll have to prove yourself worthy as you fight your way up the organization, taking part in brutal criminal activities without blowing your cover. Torn between your loyalty to the badge and a criminal code of honor, you will risk everything as the lines between truth, loyalty and justice become permanently blurred

Our settings for Sleeping Dogs

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The pattern we saw in BF3 and Crysis 3 is repeated here with great scaling on CrossFire and SLI in FRAPS but the CrossFire results fall on their face when we look at the observed, Frame Rating based results.  For single cards, the GTX 660 is clearly behind the HD 7870.

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Frame time data from CrossFire results in the mass of orange color you see there, while both single cards and the NVIDIA SLI data show very consistent and smooth frame times.

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SLI scales nearly 90% here going from the average of 29 FPS to 55 FPS but CrossFire can barely stay ahead of a single card thanks to the timinig issues seen above.

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Frame variances on every configuration but the HD 7870s in CrossFire were great but we are see a lot more relative variance for the pair of HD 7870s.

 

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More solid scaling from single GTX 660 to dual GTX 660s from NVIDIA but the CrossFire result looks just as bad as it did above.

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Awful frame time results from the CrossFire cofiguration...it's getting hard to repeat that over and over.  The SLI results do look prety solid and scale well at 2560x1440 though the single HD 7870 is still the much better option compared to the GTX 660.

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Other than the fact that the CrossFire results are lower than the single card throughout, all three cards perform pretty well with nearly-flat lines across the percentile metrics. 

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Frame time variances spike up pretty quickly after just the 10th percentile while the rest of the results are pretty clean.

 

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At 5760x1080 in Eyefinity mode, the HD 7870s in CrossFire are dropping a lot of frames, not just presenting runts, and because of that we see the frame rate again drop dramatically. 

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We see this quite often with AMD CrossFire + Eyefinity configurations, rather than seeing runts you get drops instead.

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Another view of the frame time data shows more back and forth on the CrossFire result and only a handful of spikes on the SLI data.  Both single cards have nice thin frame time plots though the GTX 660 is clearly slower than (higher frame times) than the single HD 7870.

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The SLI minimum FPS results show a slightly poor drop off at the tail end of the results thanks to the hitches and spikes we saw in the frame times above, but for 5760x1080 this is good.

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Without a doubt the frame time variance of the SLI GTX 660s is the most dramatic but you need to remember how many frames we dropped on the HD 7870s in CrossFire.

April 7, 2013 | 09:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just saw a video from valve discussing a tool called Telemetry from RAD games, it seems like it could be useful for analysis of game performance.

April 8, 2013 | 07:41 AM - Posted by Pendulously (not verified)

SUGGESTION FOR FRAME VARIANCE GRAPH:

You have already noted elsewhere that Percentile (1-99) is insufficient, for tracking large SPIKES in Frame Times, spikes which may occur only once every few seconds (i.e., once every few hundred frames, thus well beyond the 99th percentile threshold).

So you need a different dependent variable (x-axis), with 'milliseconds' remaining the independent variable (y-axis).

In a 10 minute gampeplay section (36000 Frames at 60 FPS), 36 Frames is equivalent to the 99.9th percentile (36000 divided by 1000).

If you put '36' on the x-axis (or perhaps multiples of 10), you could easily show people the effects of LARGE SPIKES IN FRAME TIMES. In many cases/circumstances, more illuminating than Frame Variance Graphs which show nothing beyond the 99th percentile.

April 8, 2013 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Stennan (not verified)

Are there any redeeming features to AMDs Crossfire solution?

April 8, 2013 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, they drop every other frame in crossfire and count it anyway and sell it to their fans as a superior frame rate than SLI.

AMS CF Frame numbers sold 80!(actual screen rate 40+stutter ! )

Wow it sure beats 76 from SLI !

Yes, a very "redeeming" quality.

April 10, 2013 | 06:12 AM - Posted by Stennan (not verified)

Thank you for not answering my question :)

I just wanted to know if there might be an upside with regards to perhaps input lag. Kind of hard to measure though.

April 11, 2013 | 01:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ok, here's a few thoughts. With the AMD runts and drops, and the fans now trying to claim "less input lag", my question is of course, "What are you aiming at?" !

With every other frame dropped or runted, you're getting ~50% of the game screen opponent positions from the frames displayed (first person shooter as an example of course since most games are that ) - so your opponents position on screen is "jumping" from one frame over to two frames ahead, changing position in a lurch - with that type of inaccuracy of on screen opponents, how is "less lag" going to help when one cannot see half the positions of the opposition, and aiming at those in between spots just is not directly occurring? you have no visual data for those positions, half the positions of your opponent !

You can see how that may present some real issues for the gamer, as far as firing accuracy.
Yes, one could develop a sort of compensation with practice, just like a similar amount of consistent input lag is gotten used to as the mind and muscles acclimate and compensate accordingly.

So, it appears to me missing frames and runts are anything but helpful, and the lag thenno lag, or the lag not running in sync with what appears on screen could be a real problem.

With equalized frame time outputs to screen, the "smoothness" factor certainly helps aiming at opponents and learning to time things correctly.

April 10, 2013 | 06:13 AM - Posted by Stennan (not verified)

Thank you for not answering my question :)

I just wanted to know if there might be an upside with regards to perhaps input lag. Kind of hard to measure though.

April 9, 2013 | 03:45 AM - Posted by fadeout (not verified)

Are we seeing that crossfire is inherently borked? Or are we seeing that the current drivers are not leveraging the potential of the hardware?

I'm thinking that drivers can be updated.

A note on the fanboy thingy, surely we need both companies to succeed to push one another to create ever faster and more powerful cards. No?

April 9, 2013 | 07:44 AM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

The problem has persisted at least two series of cards, but based on AMD's response, it likely has always existed. AMD had said they never considered frame metering. Instead, they had been focusing on delivering frames as fast as possible.

That to me would say the drivers were not borked per say, they just weren't trying to do anything about it. They weren't even aware of it.

Nvidia has their metering done with special hardware, but AMD believes they can do the same with software, which they probably can, though it may not be as ideal.

April 9, 2013 | 07:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Not sure why the 660 is being compared to a 7870. MSRP is over $100 difference. 7850 makes more sense to me but there must be a good reason the 7870 was chosen.

April 9, 2013 | 07:57 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

The GTX 660 is the cheaper of the two cards. You must have the GTX 660ti in mind.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130826
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127699

April 13, 2013 | 12:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The reason is a big fat smooch on the behind of amd and their fanboys.
Keep the raging natives a bit less restless.
You see, only 2 pages of comments, they didn't come in screaming bias while their radeon I don't believe any of this and "if it's true" it doesn't matter heads exploded.

They have all been made absolute idiots, as the years of their stupidity is apparent.

The years of them screeching no one can see over 30 fps anyway is exposed. It doesn't matter what they knew or did not know, they made every excuse and lie and fanboy promo they could over the course of years and now it is absolutely clear they were seeing only half the frames gobbled with screen wretching runts, but still claimed it was beauty incarnate.

They are fools, and we all know it.

April 11, 2013 | 12:15 PM - Posted by Arek (not verified)

It would be nice to see how a pair of gtx 580's fares, as I have these in my setup. Pretty please! *_*

April 13, 2013 | 04:21 PM - Posted by Johnny Rook (not verified)

I can't stress enough how amazing this is.

I have one or two questions though:

1. Is the ATI/AMD Dual-GPU cards like the HD7990 have the same "problems" has dual cards in SLi?

I have an HD5970 and I do recognize there are problems as far as stutter is concerned but, I notice, I have a clear visual "feeling" that something is not right in a very few games. Mostly those "heavy" titles like "Metro2033" and the new "Crysis 3".

2. Is the problem something related to the hardware itself, is it drivers or is it a mix of both?

April 13, 2013 | 04:31 PM - Posted by Johnny Rook (not verified)

Sorry, I meant "problems has dual cards in Crossfire?"

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