SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 1 – mid-range multi-GPU scaling & value

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.

HAWX dx10 150x150 SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 1   mid range multi GPU scaling & value

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. is an air combat video game developed published by Ubisoft. It was released in United States on March 6, 2009. You have the opportunity to fly 54 aircraft over real world locations and cities in somewhat realistic environments that are created with satellite data. This game is a more of a take on flying than a real simulation and it has received mixed reviews.

The game story takes place during the time of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. H.A.W.X. is set in the year 2014 where private military companies have replaced government-run military in many countries. The player is placed into the cockpit as an elite ex-military pilot who is recruited by one of these corporations to work for them as a mercenary. You later return to the US Air Force with a team as you try to prevent a full scale terrorist attack on the United States which was started by your former employer.

H.A.W.X. runs on DX10.1 faster and with more detail than on the DX10 pathway. All of our video cards can take advantage of DX10.1. Let’s check out H.A.W.X. with our top cards at 2560×1600 with fully maxed out in-game settings and 8xAA:

HAWX 252 SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 1   mid range multi GPU scaling & value

The GTX 580 jets away from the Radeons and cleanly beats the GTX 570 and the GTX 480. The GTX 560 Ti edges the HD 6870 and is beaten by the HD 6950. SLI allows GTS 450 to play with the faster cards and GTX 460 SLI beats the single fastest cards while GTX 560 Ti is faster and sits in between the CrossFired HD 6870 and HD 5870s. Here are our results at 1920×1200 resolution:

HAWX 191 SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 1   mid range multi GPU scaling & value

Although all of our four top cards give a similar playing experience in this game with maxed out settings and 8xAA, the new GTX 580 is clearly the top gun followed by the GTX 570 and the GTX 480 while the GTX 560 Ti beats the HD 6950. We see much the same thing with our multi-GPU set up, however, this time the GTX 560 Ti SLI is top gun, with HD 5870 CF, HD 6870 CF and GTX 460 SLI having no difficult beating the single flagship video cards.


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Founder and Senior Editor of ABT.

8 Responses

  1. Bo_Fox says:

    I’m not 100% certain, but to analyze microstuttering, place a check in the box next to “Frametimes” in Fraps. Then when you press the hotkey, it will create a log file with a timestamp when each single frame was outputted. Only a few seconds is enough to make the log file really, really long. Then take a portion out of the log file and make a chart out of it, that measures the time between each timestamp, to see if the frames are consistent with each other in similar intervals, or if every other frame is too close to the other one.

    If a game runs at say, 45fps with your SLI or CF setup, but feels more like 23-30fps, then definitely analyze this with FRAPS.

  2. EP says:

    Great review so far.

    How do the numbers change, if at all, if Split Frame Rendering is used instead of Alternate Frame Rendering?

    The last time I used SLI was with my Voodoo2 3000s. It was a gigantic waste of $200, in 1996 dollars.

    If SFR eliminates micro-stutter without too much of a performance penalty I might have to try SLI again.

  3. Tejas says:

    why don’t they add BF:BC2?
    and also 6950 n 6970 crossfire?

  4. DoktorSleepless says:

    Concerning the microstutter, frames time (using that fraps option) is supposed to fluctuate more erratically on crossfire/sli than what it would be on a single card. I think instead of testing a moving scene, it would make more sense to test it on a completely still scene for a few seconds and see how they compare in the excel output file. You don’t want a moving scene because then you won’t be able to differentiate between the erracticness you would get from a moving scene and the erraticness you would get from microstutter.

    Another interest option would be to downclock a sli/crossfire setup to a point where it matches the average framerate of the single card. This way you could could see if the multi-gpu setup looks choppier than a single card despite having the same average frame rate.

  5. Justin says:

    Excellent work! At the end, simple recommendations would have been nice. =)

  6. bbb_forever says:

    Please include Civilization 5 if possible the next time you benchmark.
    It is an important game which will test the tesselation feature and its scaling ability in multi-gpu configurations.

  7. apoppin says:

    Civilization 5 has been added to my benching suite along with DiRT 3 and Total War, Shogun 2.

  8. ltwally says:

    You’ve done a great job of benchmarking gaming performance, but including charts with FPS vs $$, and $$ vs wattage would be much more useful.

    The wattage (both idle and load) figures can be especially important, as some of these cards can easily draw more juice than all but the most powerful (and expensive) power supplies can provide — and that definitely factors into the cost analysis.

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