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Frame Rating: GeForce GTX Titan, GeForce GTX 690, Radeon HD 7990 (HD 7970 CrossFire)

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 (DirectX 11)


 

Battlefield 3™ leaps ahead of its time with the power of Frostbite 2, DICE's new cutting-edge game engine. This state-of-the-art technology is the foundation on which Battlefield 3 is built, delivering enhanced visual quality, a grand sense of scale, massive destruction, dynamic audio and character animation utilizing ANT technology as seen in the latest EA SPORTS™ games.

Frostbite 2 now enables deferred shading, dynamic global illumination and new streaming architecture. Sounds like tech talk? Play the game and experience the difference!

Our Settings for Battlefield 3

Here is our testing run through the game, for your reference.

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While all three cards are able to keep Battlefield 3 running well at 1920x1080, in the FRAPS based information the HD 7970s in CrossFire that are emulating the HD 7990 are clearly the performance leader followed by the GTX 690 with the GTX Titan rounding things out. 

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Well, things change quickly around these parts and you can see that for the HD 7990 the observed frame rate after removing any runts or drops has come down considerably. 

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Our plot of frame times from the Frame Rating capture technology shows two interesting items.  First, the HD 7970s in CrossFire result in an alternating fast/slow frame times, usually indicative of runts, frames that take up so little of the screen's scanlines that they aren't positively affecting apparent performance.  Also, even though the GTX 690 has better frame rates than the GTX Titan, it definitely has more frame time variance as evident by the wider blue band of color on the image above.

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Minimum frame rates after taking out the runts result in an observed FPS average of about 102 FPS for the HD 7970s, 120 FPS for the GTX Titan and 140 FPS for the GTX 690. 

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But once we look at the variance picture again we find that the GTX 690 and the GTX Titan have swapped places, with the single GPU performance of the Titan resulting in a smoother overall experience than even the GTX 690.  Both NVIDIA solutions are drastically better than the HD 7990 / HD 7970s in CrossFire.

 

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At 2560x1440 the FRAPS results look pretty similar to those above...

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But once we take away the runts and drops we find the HD 7970s in CrossFire fall behind the performance of both of the NVIDIA GeForce cards.

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Ouch, another blanket of color from the Radeon solution that indicates unsmooth and inconsistent frame rates!  If we look just as the NVIDIA side of the equation we again see the a thinner band of color on the GTX Titan results that indicates tighter and more consistent frame times throughout the benchmark run.

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Here is an individual run graph for the HD 7970s in CrossFire to help demonstrate how the runts cause the observed frame rates to be lower. 

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And the two runs for the GTX 690 and the GTX Titan do not indicate any runts at all...

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These minimum FPS percentile charts show some pretty dramatic differences, even between the competing NVIDIA options.  The HD 7970s in CrossFire average around 60 FPS, the GTX Titan at 75 FPS and the GTX 690 at 95 FPS. 

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But the frame variance results, our ISUs (International Stutter Units), once again prove that the single GPU solution has a more consistent and fluid frame time result with the HD 7970s in CrossFire really seperating themselves (not in a good way) starting at the 80th percentile.

 

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Even though we only have NVIDIA results for 5760x1080 due to the extreme amount of dropped frames on the HD 7990 / HD 7970s, comparing these two options is interesting.  In both FRAPS and observed average frame rates per second, the GTX 690 is showing as the faster of the two options, running faster than the Titan the entire time.

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But the plot shows an interesting story - the frame times on the GTX 690 are not as consistent or as smooth as on the GTX Titan.  They are averaging much lower, based on the where the bulk of the blue band resides in comparison to the green band, but the spikes that show themselves on the GTX 690 are gone completely with the GTX Titan. 

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If we look at only the minimum FPS marks we find the GTX 690 to be 33% faster in average frame rate over the entire run, but based on the graph above (and the one below) that isn't the whole story.

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Here we see the result of all of those "spikes" in frame times - a pretty sizeable difference in frame variance going from the GTX 690 to the GTX Titan. While the Titan never has more than 2.5 ms of variance from one frame against the running average of the past 20, the GTX 690 has 8-9 ms jumps at times, which will likely cause some noticeable stutter.

 

There are two take aways from this first page of results.  First, the AMD Radeon HD 7990 or HD 7970s in CrossFire are not going to compare well to the GTX Titan or GTX 690 in many cases because of the runt and dropped frame issues we have detailed.  Second, while the GTX 690 may be "faster" than the GTX Titan in Battlefield 3, at higher resolutions and especially for multi-monitor situations, the GTX Titan looks to provide the better overall experience.

 

March 30, 2013 | 03:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

not trying to be a dick, but ignoring him doesn't make the answer obvious.

March 31, 2013 | 11:41 PM - Posted by CaptTomato (not verified)

Is there romance in the air?

March 30, 2013 | 02:58 AM - Posted by billeman

Hey Guys, these articles really confirm what I saw with a crossfired HD6950 setup, I noticed big stuttering (3dmark11 springs to mind) on a dual-card setup even though the FPS were double than the single card setup.
With one card it was much smoother even though the FPS were half.
I ended up putting one card in a drawer so that was a big waste of money.
Now running a single GTX TITAN.
I will only be running single GPU from now on so I bought the fastest single GPU...... Sorry AMD, been running you for years but you don't have the fastest GPU. Good luck anyway :)

One exception I would like to mention, I remember running Crysis Warhead with crossfire on 1920x1200, enabling VSYNC,
and being able to run at 60 FPS constantly. This setup didn't seem to be stuttering at all so it would be interesting to test crossfire with VSYNC when the game permits at least 60 FPS constantly.

Cheers, keep up to excellent work !

March 30, 2013 | 03:33 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

Titan is a fucking POS card and is overpriced to Moon.

Buy either one of these:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Edp...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187196

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-DisplayPort-PCI-Express-N680-2GD5/dp/B0090EC9IS

March 30, 2013 | 06:00 AM - Posted by Humanitarian

Opinions errywhere.

March 30, 2013 | 08:38 AM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

Did you even read the article?

March 30, 2013 | 09:01 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

c

March 30, 2013 | 09:01 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

No, I did not.

I could care less about what the article is on about actually, since the TITAN is THE most stupid card I've EVER seen in my life.

The only card that matters is the 7990 in this article.

And EVEN that is barely worthwhile, because of all these skipping frametimes and shit.

My weasel is stronger than your fucking stupid TITAN.

March 30, 2013 | 09:28 AM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

Don't you think you have an obligation to know what you are complaining about before you troll?

March 30, 2013 | 09:30 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

I do.

It's explained right in there over the TechSpot site, over TechReport and ON here and on some other tech sites as well, at least, from what I heard.

My weasel is really hot. So will be my new sports car.

March 31, 2013 | 11:43 PM - Posted by CaptTomato (not verified)

Titan is an excellent card, just hideously over overpriced.

March 30, 2013 | 02:31 PM - Posted by arbiter

its his money to spend on what ever he wants.

April 2, 2013 | 07:37 PM - Posted by salesATbossrigsDOTcom (not verified)

You sir, are a f*cking idiot.

May 10, 2013 | 07:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Eat a fuckin dick John. And shove ya 680 up your arse

May 10, 2013 | 07:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Eat a fuckin dick John. And shove ya 680 up your arse

May 10, 2013 | 09:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Eat a fuckin dick John. And shove ya 680 up your arse

March 30, 2013 | 09:21 AM - Posted by billeman

Going to reply to my own comment, it seems people get really exited about this and start trolling and calling people names. Quite disappointing. Now, I'm 41 years old, maybe that's the problem :-) For all those people who are able to give their opinion without being rude to others, kudos, your comments are well appreciated.

March 30, 2013 | 09:33 AM - Posted by Daniel Masterson (not verified)

Here here sir. This guy is 54 years old and has nothing better to do than troll this awesome tech site. If you are interested in a laugh I have started a little thing called the John D. Show. You should check it out!

March 30, 2013 | 09:56 AM - Posted by billeman

-

March 30, 2013 | 09:56 AM - Posted by billeman

-

March 30, 2013 | 09:59 AM - Posted by billeman

John D Geek, the show ? Is that it :)

March 30, 2013 | 05:37 AM - Posted by Mac (not verified)

Maybe I missed it , but is there an explanation as to why the radeons didn't give an data at the highest resolution in some of those runs? what do you mean by "reliable data"?

March 30, 2013 | 04:06 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Check first article page on Eyefinity.

March 30, 2013 | 06:47 AM - Posted by 6GB Guy (not verified)

Grat work Ryan, keep it up. I was considering a crossfire setup but seeing this has helped reassure me to save up for a Titan ... Or two...

March 30, 2013 | 06:48 AM - Posted by Luciano (not verified)

Huge mistake: A 7990 cannot be "emulated" by a pair of 7970 since the the "bridge" is done onboard.

March 30, 2013 | 08:15 AM - Posted by Anon (not verified)

This site is somehow harvesting its momentum with all this AMD bashing.

The unreleased HD7990 can't implement frame metering like Kepler cards do.

Anyway we don't really know how's that Nv's frame metering affecting to input lag.

March 30, 2013 | 11:25 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

That's....just not true. You can precisely emulate it. There will be very little difference. 

March 31, 2013 | 11:12 AM - Posted by Luciano (not verified)

You are right. I was wrong: third parties used a Lucid chip in the past for dual GPU instead of the AMD reference bridge. But the latency remained the same except for the case where the dual-GPU board was paired with at least a third card:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stutter-crossfire,299...

Interesting note:
Back in 2011, it already took 3 AMD gpus + Lucid Bridge to get the smoothness of 2 nVidia

April 2, 2013 | 10:49 AM - Posted by Truth seeker (not verified)

It also CANNOT be reproduced as the boards that are currently 7970 x 2 are NOT 7990!!!!

The 7990 is going to be based off of a CGN respin similar to the 7790 (respin). The conclusions cannot even accurately refer to the 7990 without pointing out this is an NVIDIA sponsored site, as the 7990 is not even released.

What a joke to discuss an unreleased part and not only that, reflect so negatively on it.

April 2, 2013 | 10:50 AM - Posted by Truth seeker (not verified)

It also CANNOT be reproduced as the boards that are currently 7970 x 2 are NOT 7990!!!!

The 7990 is going to be based off of a CGN respin similar to the 7790 (respin). The conclusions cannot even accurately refer to the 7990 without appearing to be an NVIDIA sponsored site, as the 7990 is not even released.

What a joke to discuss an unreleased part and not only that, reflect so negatively on it.

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