Review Index:

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 | 01:40 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

Personally, I'll be the first to say that I could care less about ANY of this shit since I own a Sparkle Calibre 680 and a Galaxy 680 White to complement it.


March 30, 2013 | 01:44 AM - Posted by Anon (not verified)

Just because you can post doesn't mean you have to.

March 30, 2013 | 06:35 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

The same applies to you as well.

June 2, 2013 | 11:11 PM - Posted by clearlice (not verified)

Soon after all these years I had been undertaking this exercising
pondering it was going to whip me in shape, wow!

March 31, 2013 | 12:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


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


March 31, 2013 | 03:20 PM - Posted by renz (not verified)

60 fps won't matter if it doesn't play as smooth as it should be. hence the whole point of these article

April 4, 2013 | 03:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

you mean at a reported 60 fps. as you can see by the charts above, reported versus actual is about a 2:1 ratio. so take that as the radeon running at 30 fps.

April 5, 2013 | 09:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

how stupid is this hole page comparing two 7970's and not a 7990

July 8, 2013 | 09:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How stupid are you for not spelling whole right?

March 30, 2013 | 02:00 AM - Posted by rezes

you using still old drivers!!

AMD: 13.2 beta 7 ????

March 30, 2013 | 03:38 AM - Posted by Edge86 (not verified)

As you should have noticed also the NV Drivers where older (314.07 & 314.09 for TITAN). This is because he started a time ago to make these time-consuming tests. At that Moment the AMD Driver wasn't old. :)

Thanks Ryan for the interesting Frame Rating tests so far (and upcoming). Would it be possible the add 3-way & 4-way MGPU-Setups for an extra review in future?


March 30, 2013 | 05:37 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

LOL 13.2 beta 7 is SOO OOLLDD!!  :)

All of our testing was completed as of March 15th, and it was the latest driver as of that date.  And trust me, nothing that affects what we are seeing here is changed with the latest beta drivers. 

As for 3/4 card configs, we can do it, its just a time concern now.  

March 30, 2013 | 06:27 AM - Posted by John Doe (not verified)

Talk about being subjective.

Not everyone updates their drives like they change their underwear, dummy.

June 2, 2013 | 11:11 PM - Posted by Darlene (not verified)

Soon after all these years I had been carrying out
this physical exercise considering it was going to whip me in shape,

March 30, 2013 | 07:03 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

Totally agreed with you.

March 30, 2013 | 09:38 AM - Posted by rezes

Thank you for answering

March 30, 2013 | 03:46 PM - Posted by technogiant (not verified)

Would be interesting....I've heard else where that tricrossfire eliminates least subjectively....would be good to shine the truth light of "frame rating" on that statement.

March 30, 2013 | 05:27 PM - Posted by arbiter

I doubt it eliminates the stuttering problem as it just increases FPS to a point you can't see it anymore. nvidia doesn't have stuttering cause its what they do on the hardware to prevent it which AMD doesn't but supportable gonna make a fix for in July which would have to be software fix.

April 2, 2013 | 01:16 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

I'd like to see that too. I used to run 4870x2 + 4870 in Tri-fire and I don't recall stutter. However, I have run 6870s in Crossfire and did notice issues in BFBC2.

I don't have problems with my GTX 570 SLI or GTX 680 SLI PCs.

It would be great to see older cards tested too.

April 1, 2013 | 10:30 AM - Posted by mfpterodactyl (not verified)

Oh, Ryan you rascal! Are you not familiar with the MO of the AMD diehards? These guys are more deluded than the Westboro baptist church.

Let me bring you up to speed.

The latest beta driver, released at 3am the night before, not available on the official AMD website, and available only through obscure links passed around by the AMD diehards, is the JESUS DRIVER THAT WILL FINALLY CHANGE EVERYTHING! It will unlock all the untold power that AMD diehards just KNEW was in their cards all along. This situation repeats EVERY SINGLE TIME a new beta driver is released, publicly or not.

To be perfectly honest you're throwing the diehards way too much of a bone by using beta drivers to begin with. You wouldn't review beta (non-production) hardware, now would you? But that's another discussion for another time.

I really am sorry Ryan for all the venom some people will spit at you now and in the future because you're the first tech journalist in quite a while to actually do some investigative journalism instead of being a press release parrot. There are a lot of people that appreciate all your hard work, please don't forget that. The real value in what you're doing is not just in evaluating current hardware and making better buying decisions, but in shaping the future of the industry. Because of your hard work, future hardware WILL run games more smoothly than they would otherwise, and for that we thank you. Thanks, Ryan.

April 3, 2013 | 12:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hope and beta driver change. Praise be the new frame rate!
The future is here and this is the driver we have been waiting for! Honor be upon Catalyst Maker, the oceans are receding and all crossfire rigs now rise with this tiding of good joy!
Banished are the runts frames, in Abu Dhabi's name.

April 1, 2013 | 09:48 AM - Posted by steen (not verified)

I agree, 3/4-way multi gpu setups might show interesting results.

People are getting too hung up depending on their preference. This is genuinely interesting stuff, that has't been applied by end-user review sites before. Both IHVs have resources that are beyond anyone else. I don't buy for a minute that any of the major IHVs doesn't analyze the render pipeline in great detail.

March 30, 2013 | 02:22 AM - Posted by pdjblum


Great work you have done. Has Scott at techreport had anything to say about it?

March 30, 2013 | 01:19 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Disappointing that I never get a response from the staff. I have been a loyal reader for some time now, and do not get why you guys cannot once in a while respond.

March 30, 2013 | 01:39 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I love you, and I care for you.  I just have no idea what Scott has communicated with Ryan about.

March 30, 2013 | 01:43 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Back at you Josh. Thanks for replying.

March 30, 2013 | 02:22 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I'd rather keep conversations between Scott and I private. 

March 30, 2013 | 03:01 PM - Posted by pdjblum

I was just hoping he was impressed with how far you have taken this thing. No doubt, your work has nvidia and amd taking notice, which is quite a thing.

March 30, 2013 | 05:29 PM - Posted by arbiter

nVidia made some tools that are used in this testing which pcper is in process of making their own up to move away from using nvidia made tools

April 2, 2013 | 08:45 PM - Posted by Tom Petersen (not verified)

I watch everything Ryan does:)

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