The GTX 590 vs. the HD 6990 – only One is “the World’s Fastest video card”
S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Call of Pripyat is the third game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. All of these games have non-linear storylines which feature role-playing game elements. In both games, the player assumes the identity of a S.T.A.L.K.E.R.; an illegal artifact scavenger in “The Zone” which encompasses about 30 square kilometers. It is the location of an alternate reality story surrounding the Chernobyl Power Plant after another (fictitious) explosion. S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Call of Pripyat features “a living breathing world” with highly developed NPC creature AI.
Call of Pripyat is compatible with DirectX 8, 9, 10 and 10.1. It uses the X-ray 1.6 Engine with dX 11, one outstanding feature being the inclusion of real-time GPU tesselation– a Shader model 3.0 & 4.0 graphics engine featuring HDR, parallax and normal mapping, soft shadows, motion blur, weather effects and day-to-night cycles. As with other engines using deferred shading, the original DX9c X-ray Engine does not support anti-aliasing with dynamic lighting enabled, although the DX10 and DX 11 versions do.
We are using the stand-alone “official” benchmark by Clear Sky’s creators. We picked the most stressful test out of the four, “Sun shafts”. It brings the heaviest penalty due to its extreme use of shaders to create DX10/DX10.1 and DX11 effects. We ran this benchmark fully maxed out in DX11.0 with “ultra” settings plus 4xAA, including applying edge-detect MSAA which chokes performance even further.
Here we present our maxed out DX11 settings for S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Call of Pripyat DX11 benchmark with 4xAA at 2560×1600:
Now we move on to 1680×1050 with 2xAA:
This game was impossible to play last year at the highest settings with a single card and much if any AA. Now we see our cards breeze through 1680×1050 and 1920×1200 with the GTX 590 leading the HD 6990. We saw that if we upped the resolution to 2560×1600 and also increased the AA to the maximum 4xAA the benchmark supports, the HD 6990 pulls ahead of the GTX 590 by nearly 2 frames per second. We are seeing a trend where the GTX 590’s lead gets cut down as the resolution and AA go way up. Part of it may be attributed to the larger framebuffer of the HD 6990, but it is just likely architectural differences.