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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.

 

April 1, 2013 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Pendulously (not verified)

To put it simply: 'NUMBER OF FRAMES WHICH EXCEED THRESHOLD' should be on the X-Axis, and the THRESHOLD (in milliseconds) will be specified by the corresponding Y-Axis value.

March 31, 2013 | 04:17 AM - Posted by gloomfrost

Fantastic article Ryan. I think this will be the reference for future benchmarks and keep all GPU manufactures honest! In the podcast you mentioned having uploaded a non you tube video without the compression artifacts of flash and you tube. Is there anywhere i can download the video for the Skyrim comparison?

Thanks

April 3, 2013 | 10:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think you meant "keep the lying amd con artist CF foobar for years, incapable of getting away with straight out fps lying, by sheer force of facts."

In the case of nVidia, they already gave all of us the benefits of smooth frames for years.

This means of course, all the screaming denials by the amd fanboys and websites have been utter and total crap, for years on end.

I said so, and was attacked relentlessly.
Delicious amd fanboy tears, years of raging failure, total VINDICATION.

March 31, 2013 | 09:01 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8HVQXkeU8U&list=PLLpjKzWIuEfmHcyTF7Qxuh1...

^

Battlefield 4 running at 60FPS, 3K resolution on an AMD Radeon 7990.

PCPER=Fail!

March 31, 2013 | 10:37 AM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

What does that video have anything to do with this article?

April 2, 2013 | 10:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

According to the auther 7970x2 is bad, yet they are playing nicely!

April 3, 2013 | 03:14 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

I still see some very little hiccups throughout the video. Not saying it can't be acceptable for anyone, but there are people, who would like better fluidity than this.

April 3, 2013 | 03:15 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

I still see some very little hiccups throughout the video. Not saying it can't be acceptable for anyone, but there are people, who would like better fluidity than this.

March 31, 2013 | 03:42 PM - Posted by db87

AMD: 13.2 beta 7????

Catalyst 13.2 Beta 7 is from 2/26/2013

The latest drivers are Catalyst 13.3 Beta3, dated 3/20/2013

March 31, 2013 | 04:29 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

As said a few times, it takes time to do all the data collecting, analysis, graphs and write an article. They used the most up to date drivers when they started the benchmarking.

Do you think this stuff is done instantly?

June 5, 2013 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Santo (not verified)

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March 31, 2013 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Honestly running RadeonPro with DFC and vsync fixs most of these games. I have played sleeping dogs at 60fps and it was glass smooth with RP. Most of the CFX problems are without vsync on - which in my opinion is not an option. So i've never had these so called runt frames affecting my gaming by default. I'm playing crysis 3 atm with radeon pro DFC and vsync and its pure smoothness. Sure the current drivers are a problem for people who game without vsync but i don't see why anybody would game without vsync.

Its interesting they recommend people not to buy AMD cards just because they can't be bothered to run a 3rd party app. Try suggesting things to fix the issue rather would help gamers more.

April 2, 2013 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That wouldn't please the sponsor (nvidia).

April 3, 2013 | 09:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, then, we need a totally new set of benchmarks for the past year plus, where 60FPS with vsync on is the bench, and either it does at the settings or it doesn't.

That means scrapping every single claim 7970 cf overclocked or whatever has higher fps, just throw ALL OF IT OUT FOREVER.

Thanks for "the solution", and you're welcome for the "implications of your solution" mr amd fan boy.

March 31, 2013 | 06:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

All the AMD fanboys are pissed. Oh no.

April 3, 2013 | 05:09 AM - Posted by Panta (not verified)

which put you in the same category.. a fan boy :|

April 3, 2013 | 10:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

WRONG.

Noticing the lying liars and their rager reactionary scunge brains borging out about the calamity of their full facepalm after YEARS of hearing them scream two amd crossfire For The Win !!!!!! does not a fanboy maketh.

April 3, 2013 | 05:09 AM - Posted by Panta (not verified)

which put you in the same category.. a fan boy :|

April 1, 2013 | 02:16 AM - Posted by CaptTomato

As I said at Techreport, when it comes to single GPU, framerates are all that matter on most occasions, so don't be put off buying a 7870/7950/7970 because of XF results.
I have a single 7950 and it's killer

April 3, 2013 | 10:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's fine but all those years of squacking future proof and buy one amd card now because in the near future you can go with CF and have a huge boost when you need it....

BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH is what those endless YEARS of amd justifications now mean.

I tell you one thing, I noticed a year ago how some of these websites started shying away from dual card recommendations, which of course means they all had the info and inkling on this problem with amd crossfire, and no doubt nVidia was hammering their little eardrums and deep down inside they knew - not to mention when one of the did talk, they posted how CF failed in no less than 50% of the popular games they were using in their testing suites... it became IMPOSSIBLE to recommend CF with a clear conscience, but the fanboy in them made certain they included SLI in the "do not recommend" category as well.

This is what I saw develop, and there is no doubt why it went that way. When the crap underdog card is failing miserably but the cover is still not blown, make ceratin to cut down the competition, too, that way, you never really fully recommended the failing dirty amd dog double fps lying CF setups...

It's so sad. It's so facepalm. It has made every single site that does reviews look like clueless fools, and in fact, they WERE for YEARS.
Credibility ?
Not so much, so very little. So very, very little.

April 1, 2013 | 02:26 AM - Posted by CaptTomato

Damn, I tried registering for the forums and I couldn't do it.

April 1, 2013 | 06:43 AM - Posted by svnowviwvn

So where is the "3/31: Radeon HD 7950 vs GeForce GTX 660 Ti (Single and Dual GPU)" review?

It is 4/1 and I do not see it up on the site.

April 1, 2013 | 08:53 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Sometimes life does not always cooperate with review release schedules.  I should know, I'm the champ when it comes to that!

April 1, 2013 | 11:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nvidia looks good under frame rating with either single GPU or multi-GPU. How does Nvidia do with Physx enabled?

Just wondering...

April 1, 2013 | 01:21 PM - Posted by GarTheConquer

Ryan, thank you so much for bringing this issue to light!
I have an Xfire-7970 setup and because of your research, AMD will have no choice but to remedy this problem (eventually).
Thank you, your hard work is greatly appreciated.

April 1, 2013 | 03:00 PM - Posted by svnowviwvn

Ryan thanks for the very detailed reviews.

I for one would also like to see "Frame Rating" reviews done for all single GPUs, both discrete and integrated. That includes AMD APUs, Intel's HD series, Nvidia's Optimus, AMD's Endora. Laptop & Desktop both Single GPU and/or CF/SLI.

Since we can now see that Fraps numbers can be suspect and that drivers/implementation can result in runts/missing frames I want to see if any of the above mentioned systems result in lower actual FPS than the Fraps number shows.

April 1, 2013 | 04:23 PM - Posted by Pete (not verified)

Amazing work Ryan. Much appreciated. PCper is now my #1 site for hardare reviews. Can you possibly show Titan SLI frame times in the future. Thanks bud.

April 1, 2013 | 07:13 PM - Posted by seravia

Where is the next part?

3/31: Radeon HD 7950 vs GeForce GTX 660 Ti (Single and Dual GPU)

April 2, 2013 | 04:08 AM - Posted by rezes

At the Skyrim game. Fraps FPS and observed FPS equal for AMD radeon cars! however of frame time variance. How can we explaining that situation? Skyrim used DX9.0! is answer it?

It seems to AMDs drivers problem at the only on the DX10-DX11

In the meantime, I am using gtx690 in my system.I was just wondering cause of the problem.

April 2, 2013 | 11:27 AM - Posted by ZoranICS

Great article guys! I hope AMD is watching and are doing all they can to fix this issue that has been known for years.

I am amazed how many ignorant people actually post in this discussion. It seems that even hard facts aren't good enough for some dumb people. :|

I prefer AMD cards (Though I run a GTX670 at the moment) and hope they fix this ASAP.

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