GTX 480 vs. HD 5870, 8x AA Performance Analysis, Part 3



Next we move on to Crysis, a science fiction first person shooter by Crytek. It remains one of the most demanding games for any PC and it is also still one of the most beautiful games released to date. Crysis is based in a fictional near-future where an alien spacecraft is discovered buried on an island near the coast of Korea. The single-player campaign has you assume the role of USA Delta Force, ‘Nomad’ who is armed with futuristic weapons and equipment.

Crysis uses DirectX10 for graphics rendering. A standalone but related game, Crysis Warhead was released last year. CryEngine2 is the game engine used to power Crysis and Warhead and it is an extended version of the CryEngine that also powers FarCry. As well as supporting Shader Model 2.0, 3.0, and DirectX10’s 4.0, CryEngine2 is also multi-threaded to take advantage of dual core SMP-aware systems and Crytek has developed their own proprietary physics system, called CryPhysics. However, it is noted that actually playing this game is a bit slower than the demo implies.

GPU Demo, Island

All of our settings are set to maximum “very high” including 4xAA and we force 16xAF in the control panels.  To get equivalent anti-aliasing, we set our HD 5870 to 8xAA in the game’s Control Panel and 8xQ for the GeForce.  Here is Crysis’ Island Demo benchmark, first at 2560×1600 resolution:


Crysis at 2560×1600 still requires at least multi-GPU to play smoothly. At 4xAA, the HD 5870 and the GTX 480 are pretty close overall although the Radeon will stumble in the minimums  at times. Perhaps the larger framebuffer of the GTX makes a difference. However, once we set the filtering to 8x, the GTX simply pulls away from the Radeon which chokes badly. Neither of our overclocked video cards played this game at maximum resolution particularly well; not even without AA/AF – but this time the GTX 480 pulls way ahead of the HD 5870 when it is forced to play at 8xAA.

Let’s move on to 1920×1200:


This time the performance is closer with the Radeon edging the GeForce when both play Crysis at 8xAA. Both of our top cards are now playable with Crysis at 1920×1200 if you are willing to compromise with AA/AF or lower a couple of detail settings.


The Radeon HD 5870 is slightly faster than the GeForce GTX 480 when both are running at 4x or 8xAA in Crysis at 1680×1050. As the resolution approaches our maximum, the GTX 480 is now a bit faster in the minimums and averages until 2560×1600 when the HD 5870 chokes. We haven’t seen any performance improvement in NVIDIA’s Crysis drivers since the beta release drivers.


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Founder and Senior Editor of ABT.

5 Responses

  1. hmmm.... says:

    Please take into consideration that nVidia uses a different version of AntiAliasing starting 8x and up, therefore comparisons are henceforth limited at best. Sadly I don’t have a direct link right now, but please take it into consideration before drawing (final) conclusions.

  2. apoppin says:

    We took special care to make sure that identical AA settings were applied in all of our benchmarks including for Crysis. We even noted that in the full retail game, Just Cause 2, that we observed the benchmark results showed the Radeon was running at 8xCSAA while the GeForce was 8xAA.

    However, we have since learned from AMD that the benchmark results are wrongly identifying 8xMSAA as CSAA. The Radeon is actually running 8xMSAA and this minor issue will be addressed in a future patch.

    Everything we test is “apples to apple” unless it is specified in the review.

  3. Nice article man. Cheers

  4. Ahhroorah says:

    Amazing how you calculated the % differences and included them in the chart for 4x vs 8x AA! One of the best reviews ever.

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