Here we have our real gaming tests. Each of the games we chose use multiple cores and GPUs. They are able to stress the system through use of good AI. Both have decent positional audio that adds impact to the sound subsystem of the board. We ran each game through the level or parts listed and recorded frame per second using FRAPS. This brings the whole game into play.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (DX9)
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Timedemo or Level Used: First combat until the school is cleared
Developer Homepage: http://www.infinityward.com
Product Homepage: http://modernwarfare2.infinityward.com
Most of you know about the game Modern Warfare 2; it caused quite a bit of controversy in the latter half of 2009. The game is a first person shooter with a heavy combat emphasis. It follows the events in the first Modern Warfare very closely and brings back several characters from the original.
As with most games in the Call of Duty franchise, it features a heavy AI load. This is not because of a complex AI routine, but more due to the sheer number of enemies in any given combat situation. It is also our single DX9 based game in our testing suite. Settings are shown below.
Now this is what I call overkill! Look at the minimum frame rate here; we start off at 98, almost triple what most doctors say the human eye can register (28-36 Frames Per Second). Still, we see impressive scaling on the UD9 each time we add another GTX 470. Our final minimum frame rate is 175 FPS. Not bad at all.
Far Cry 2 (DX10)
Far Cry 2 is a large sandbox style game. There are no levels here so as you move about the island you are on you do not have to wait for the "loading" sign to go away. It is mission driven so each mission is what you would normally think of as the next "level".
In the game you take the role of a mercenary who has been sent to kill the Jackal. Unfortunately your malaria kicks in and you end up being found by him. Long story short, you become the errand boy for a local militia leader and run all over the island doing his bidding. Settings we used for testing are shown below.
Now this was unexpected. While we do see a nice improvement when we setup SLI on the UD9, we actually lose performance with Three-Way SLI. We have a feeling that the game does not know what to do with the extra GPU and this is causing problems with rendering.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 (DX11)
Battlefield Bad Company is another sequel and also another game "franchise". Bad Company 2 is also our DX11 Shooter game. The game follows a fictitious B company team on a mission to recover a Japanese defector. This puts you back in World War II (at least for the beginning of the game) while the multi-player game is centered on much more modern combat. For our testing we used the single player mode. Settings are shown below.
Bad Company 2 is another game that does not know what to do with three GPUs. In fact, this one was so bad that we had stutters during game play. We are not sure at this time if this is a game issue or a board issue. We are going to be doing some further testing to find out, though. Still, interestingly enough we did not see a large power spike when playing this game compared to some of the other games and applications we used for testing. This could indicate that for whatever reason the third GPU on the X58A-UD9 is not operating properly and, like Far Cry 2, is causing a loss of performance.
Bioshock 2 (DX10)
Version and / or Patch Used: V1.00
Timedemo or Level Used: From the opening to the meeting with Dr. Tanenbaum.
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kgames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.2kgames.com/#/games/bioshock-2
Buy It Here
Bioshock 2 is the follow on to the original blockbuster hit FPS, Bioshock. In it you take the persona of a Big Daddy, but one that is very different from what you ran into in the original game. You have many powerful weapons, but are also able to make use of Eve and Plasmids to enhance your combat abilities. The DX10 portion of the game is limited to textures and lighting, but it is still enough to keep things interesting for your GPU.
Bioshock 2 seems to gain very little from multiple GPUs (this seems to be an issue with the game and not the UD9). We have seen this now on a couple of boards and even during our Hydra multiGPU Testing.
Version and / or Patch Used: V1.00
Timedemo or Level Used: From washing up on the beach to the mine fields.
Developer Homepage: http://www.metro2033game.com/us/age_gate
Product Homepage: http://www.metro2033game.com
Metro 2033 is a game that was created by some of the same developers that made the game STALKER. The Engine used has been described as "what XRAY should have been". It is very detailed and has some of the more realistic human rendering available. The shadows, fog simulations and other eye-candy make this game rough on even the most powerful of GPUs.
Now this is much more like what I would want to see from a three-GPU setup on the X58A-UD9. Metro 2033 with DX11 enabled is very hard on a GPU, but when we dropped in the third GTX 470 we finally saw our minimum frame rate hit over 32FPS. The game was smooth and responsive in a way that I have not seen it before.
Well, we really did not find out anything new with our three-way SLI testing on the X58A-UD9. Then again, our real-world gaming tests were limited to a handful of games. They do represent a good slice of current games, but the only thing they have shown us is that adding more GPUs is not going to guarantee better performance. In fact, in two of our games adding the third GPU caused problems (in Bad Company 2 this was a big problem). In Bioshock 2 we saw no gain at all.