GTX 680 vs. Radeon HD 7970 - Multi-Display Showdown

It is time for us to expand upon our Fall 2012 GPU Comparison to include SLI, CrossFireX, Eyefinity, and NV Surround. We will see how AMD and NVIDIA compare using the latest fall drivers, in a multi-display configurations and multi-GPU configurations when pushing an extreme amount of pixels.

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Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game with role playing elements. The game was developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix. We have performed a gameplay performance and image quality evaluation on this game. We have found it to be an excellent game for testing video cards, as it stresses graphics and is very shader intensive.

The game is a DX11 game, supports modern DX11 graphics effects such as motion blur, depth of field, as well as shader based FXAA and SSAA in-game. With these settings combined, there are varying qualities that remove the jaggies in the game. At the highest in-game settings, with Extreme AA, we have found it to be the most graphically challenging game to date.

For our run-through we are starting during the "Broken Parts" chapter. We do a little bit of combat, then we hop in a car and tour the city in a lengthy run-through. We found that framerates were lowest while driving, especially fast, in closed areas in-doors with hand-to-hand combat the framerates were consistently average to high, and not the most stressful. Outdoors, in the city is where FPS dropped the lowest.


SLI vs. CrossFireX in NV Surround and Eyefinity

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Sleeping Dogs has proven to be a graphics challenge even on a single-display, so when expanding to three displays the demand is that much greater. We were able to run it at the highest resolution of 5760x1200 with the highest in-game settings on both GTX 680 SLI and HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFireX. The primary option that caused the most decrease in framerate was the AA settings. We found that different AA settings were playable between both configurations.

It was clear from the get-go that AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFireX was a lot faster in this game. We were able to play at the "High Quality" AA option. This enables High FXAA and Medium SSAA. The fact that we are running at Medium SSAA at 5760x1200 is incredible to begin with. The performance was there with HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFireX that we were averaging 50 FPS and performance was smooth.

This was not the case with GeForce GTX 680 SLI. When we tried to play at High Quality AA performance was a lot slower, and we will show you this in the apples-to-apples performance. The only option that was playable was the lower "Normal Quality" AA. At Normal AA FXAA is at Normal and there is no SSAA at all. Raw performance was higher than the AMD setup, but the overall image quality was a lot less with the lower AA settings. Visually, and in terms of the overall gameplay experience AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFireX was superior in this game.


Single GPU in NV Surround and Eyefinity

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Now that we have looked at SLI and CrossFireX in NV Surround and Eyefinity, we will look at single-card performance also in NV Surround and Eyefinity. When running just one video card the demand at triple-display gaming is great, and thus the best resolution we found for single-card was 5040x1050 on our three-display setup.

This game is quite demanding, and with only single video cards we had to leave the AA setting on Normal. This resulted in playable performance at 5040x1050 on both GTX 680 and HD 7970 GHz Edition. It is also clear that HD 7970 GHz Edition single video card is faster than GTX 680 in this game when running in multiple displays.


Apples-to-Apples

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In this first apples-to-apples graph we are comparing performance between SLI and CrossFireX at 5760x1200 with High Quality AA. You can see how much of a drastic performance loss there is with GTX 680 at High AA. Above, we had to turn off High AA and simply go with Normal AA, and you can see now why. Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFireX is 41.5% faster than GTX 680 SLI at High Quality AA.

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Now we are looking at single-card performance at 5040x1050 with High Quality AA. Both video cards are slow, and unplayable, but the GTX 680 is a lot worse with consistent framerates below 30 FPS. AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition is 31.7% faster than GTX 680.