SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 1 – mid-range multi-GPU scaling & value
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 2xAA at 1920×1200:
Now we move on to 1680×1050 with 2xAA:
The GTX 580 makes a clean sweep of these single card benches although we would still lower settings at 1920×1200 to have a completely smooth playing experience. We see the GTX 560 Ti’s performance sit between the HD 6870 and the HD 6950. Our GTS 450 SLI scales well enough to make this playable over a single GTX 450 although GTX 560 Ti doesn’t scale well enough which allows it to get beat by both CrossFired pairs of video cards. GTX 460 SLI is next performance-wise and it trades blows with the GTX 580 depending on the resolution.