Our synthetic tests will cover most of the features available within the most popular forms of DirectX (DX 9, 10 and 11). Each of these is intended to give an idea on how well the X-Mode will operate for you when you want to take it for a spin. These tests are included as the repeatable "static" numbers to ensure that we are not getting results that are out of the normal range. Our tests used for this were 3DMark Vantage, Unigine's Heaven 2.0 Bench and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat bench.
For synthetic gaming tests we used the industry standard and overlockers bragging tool 3DMark Vantage. This is a test that strives to mimic the impact modern games have on a system. Futuremark went a long way to change from the early days of graphics driven tests to a broader approach including physics, AI and more advanced graphics simulations.
3DMark Vantage uses the DX10 API in addition to having support for PhysX. As we are no longer using an NVIDIA GPU for testing (at least until we can get a GTX 4xx card) you will only see the CPU based PhysX results in the scores. For testing we use the Performance test run.
We found out something very interesting early on in our testing. If an NVIDIA GPU is in the primary slot (the one that actually does the rendering output) you do get PhysX. This raises some interesting questions about how the Fuzion chip is working between the two GPUs. In terms of real performance increase (without PhysX playing into it) the biggest jump we saw was with the N465GTX in the primary slot and the R5870 in the secondary. We were able to add a little over 5,800 points to the GPU score alone and this was without PhysX. The highest non-PhysX score was with the R5870 in the lead, though. This type of increase is encouraging, but it does not let us draw any firm conclusions yet.
Unigine Heaven Bench
Unigine's Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine engine from Unigine Corp. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk. It offers a good combination of features like; Support of DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0, tessellation, Advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion), volumetric cumulonimbus clouds, changing light conditions and dynamic sky with light scattering.
We ran the Heaven Bench in both DX10 and DX11 modes to see where things landed.
As the Heaven Bench does not take PhysX into account at all, it is not surprising to see that when the R5870 was in the number one slot it takes the top performance mark. However, the biggest gain was by adding the R5870 to the N465GTX, with about a 46% jump.
DX10 performance was almost the opposite. The R5870 all on its own does quite well, but then loses performance when we add in the N465GTX. Meanwhile the N465GTX gets a nice boost from adding the R5870. Go figure.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Bench
The game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat is based off of the XRAY 1.6 engine. This same engine runs the benchmark and in both DX11 and DX10 modes. Like the game, it can simulate hard contact shadows and tessellation. The benchmark runs through several lighting conditions; Day, Night, Rain and Sun Streaks. These compromise the bench four runs. We take the average frame rates for each and recorded them here.
When we ran the Stalker COP bench we saw another odd performance run. The R5870 Lightning does excellent on its own while the both X-Mode configurations are just behind it. It looks like at least this test gets nothing from running with Fuzion enabled.
The DX10 run shows a little better performance with more of a boost to the R5870 than we get with the N465GTX.
The Synthetics were sort of all over the place. We saw good performance with some tests and nothing with others. We also noted that the actual performance numbers do not seem to be in keeping with some of the claims that Lucid made when they introduced the platform. It also looks like some tests are not affected at all by Fuzion. This is more than likely an issue with the drivers. I know speaking with MSI they have said the drivers for Fuzion are an ongoing item with new performance improvements and tweaks always being worked on.
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