SLI vs. CrossFire, Part 2 – High-end multi-GPU scaling

S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Call of Pripyat 


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.

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 2xAA, 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:

We see nearly perfect scaling for both SLI and CrossFire and the GeForce GPUs are faster in this benchmark than their Radeon counterparts.

Again we see great multi-GPU scaling and the relative positioning of the video cards are unchanged.  Now we move on to 5670×1080:

None of our configurations can handle this game at 5760×1080 nor do the GPUs scale as well as they do at lower resolutions.  If you play this game at super widescreen resolutions, you will need to lower details or perhaps use Tri-SLI or Quad-Fire – if they scale.


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Founder and Senior Editor of ABT.

4 Responses

  1. Malz says:

    Thanks for this article. It was a very interesting read :)
    I’m really looking forward to the next parts in the series. Overclocking and potential CPU-bottlenecking in Single-Card VS SLI is something I’ve been wondering about for a long while. And also microstuttering, I’ve never experienced it myself, but it scares me enough to make me cautions of buying another GTX 570 to SLI.
    And oh, is it possible to get Battlefield 3 Beta added in your test-games?

  2. apoppin says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I would not be afraid of getting a second GTX 570 for SLI. Nvidia (and AMD) work to minimize micro stuttering in the drivers and it is something that you can generally further alleviate by backing down on settings if you notice it.

    I plan to add BF3 to my regular benching suite after it is released. The beta is only going to be valid for less than a month.

  3. arestavo says:

    Thank you very much for this! It isn’t easy finding benchmark results with newer drivers. Not for a quad-SLI or quadfire setup that is. Cheers!

  4. arestavo says:

    Err, strike the quad-SLI and quadfire part, but all the same – it is nice to find more up to date benchmarks!

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