Far Cry 3 Video Card Performance Preview

Find out what to expect in Far Cry 3 with a GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and also with SLI and CrossFireX performance. We look at several comparisons of quality settings, and let you know about the important graphics eye candy to get you going in your Far Cry 3 gaming experience.


Apples-to-Apples Performance

In all the tests below the same settings are used for comparison. We are running with the game at Ultra settings, and manipulating MSAA as needed. We've also indicated that Alpha to Coverage is enabled at the Enhanced setting when MSAA is turned on.

Single-GPU Performance

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In this graph we are comparing performance at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA enabled. You can see that this setting is quite demanding on our single-GPU GTX 680 and HD 7970 GHz Edition video cards. The framerates are consistently below 30 FPS on both video cards. The GTX 680 averaged 24.1 FPS and the HD 7970 GHz Edition averaged 26.7 FPS, technically the 7970 GHz Edition is faster.

You will notice an odd framerate behavior with the HD 7970 GHz Edition video card. Look at the framerates between 0 and 200 frames. It seems the 7970 GHz Edition video card is stuck at 20 FPS throughout that whole period. You will find this continues at other settings too, that during this time period the framerate doesn't change, but remains constant at 20 or 30 FPS. This is odd because VSYNC is off in the driver and the game, yet it is acting as if VSYNC is on, or at least the affect of it. Yet, once the scripted scene ends (which is where our characters are being held in the cages) and we have control of the game, then the framerate works as normal. We verified this issue at every setting, and it was repeatable. Note that the Buffer Frame setting was at 1 with both video cards, for the exact same settings.

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In this graph we have turned off all AA, so we are running at 2560x1600 No AA. Performance has gone up a lot without AA, however, framerates are still low compared to other games at this resolution. This is so far the most demanding game this fall, at this resolution. Once again we see that overall the 7970 GHz Edition video card is faster, but it does have that odd issue during the first scripted part of the game. It even seems to happen at various times throughout the run in the other scripted parts of the run-through. Perhaps AMD has a performance issue in the scripted parts of the game, so far it is indicating this.

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Finally, we have cranked both cards up to 8X MSAA at 1080p so you can see what the game performs like maxed out at 1080p. We see the 7970 GHz Edition barely faster, and the same issue during the beginning exists. We also notice that the GTX 680, overall in all three graphs, is more consistent in framerate, while 7970 GHz Edition is more "wild" in framerate.

SLI and CrossFire

Now it is time to look at the GTX 680 and 7970 GHz Edition in SLI and CrossFire. Important to us is that we want to find out if SLI and CrossFire work on day 1 of this game launch.

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In this graph we are running at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA. We can definitely see that SLI and CrossFire are working to provide better framerates. In fact, the issue we were having with the single 7970 GHz Edition during the beginning of the game is gone under CrossFire. Performance-wise, 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire is 15% faster than GTX 680 SLI. However, the actual experience was very different.

We've talked about this before, and it is very true here, that GTX 680 SLI was smoother, i.e. no stutter, no choppiness, no lag, no "micro stutter" as we played at this setting. Yet, with 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire we definitely felt it stuttering. It doesn't show up in framerate, but it was very blatant and obvious as we moved about the game at this setting on 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire.

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Now we are running at 1080p with 8X MSAA, the game completely maxed out. We again see the benefit of SLI and CrossFire. 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire is in fact 12% faster than GTX 680 SLI in this game.

It should also be noted that at this resolution, even with 8X MSAA, we did NOT experience any stuttering on 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire. So while we did see it at 2560x1600 4X MSAA, we did not see it at 1080p with 8X MSAA. Therefore, 1080p with 8X MSAA was a smoother experience on the 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire versus 2560x1600 4X MSAA.