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Unigine Superposition Benchmark: The New GPU Crusher

The makers of Heaven have a new benchmark called Superposition: crushing your GPU to 8K and beyond. Let's take a look.

@anthony256
Published Tue, Apr 11 2017 3:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST

Introduction

Unigine Superposition

Unigine has been very busy over the years building its next-gen real-time 3D platform - which isn't just a PC benchmark but a platform that can be used from real estate developers, scientists and researchers, and even small movie studios, with the developer working on Superposition, which can be deployed in countless different markets. Superposition is the result of the infusion of the new Unigine 2 Engine, and it has plenty of tools to stress your GPU to 100%, or build out a space base or weather simulation systems.

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Until now, Unigine's Heaven benchmark was a stable of my synthetic benchmark regime for years now, as it is a benchmark that provides stable results without much variance between graphics cards. The news that Unigine were working on a new benchmark program had me excited, so I reached out to the company last week and was able to score myself with an early release of Superposition, and I've run it through its paces on a bunch of different CPU and GPU architectures, and combinations of both.

Superposition, which I'll say at the start is a strange name - Heaven 2.0 would've been okay with me. Anyway, Superposition is detailed by Unigine as a story: "A lone professor performs dangerous experiments in an abandoned classroom, day in and day out. Obsessed with inventions and discoveries beyond the wildest dreams, he strives to prove his ideas".

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Unigine continues: "Once you come to this place in the early morning, you would not meet him there. The eerie thing is a loud bang from the laboratory heard a few moments ago. What was that? You have the only chance to cast some light upon this incident by going deeply into the matter of quantum theory: thorough visual inspection of professor's records and instruments will help to lift the veil on the mystery".

Unigine 2.0 Engine

Unigine made some large upgrades to their engine, which allows all sorts of businesses to apply Unigine 2.0 Engine to their products - with the Unigine SDK "designed to push beyond the entertainment space and provide photo-realistic, high-quality graphics capabilities across all industries".

Unigine has built every 3D asset with near photorealistic quality, with the developer explaining that the new Unigine image generator uses advanced shading and lighting models, accurate atmosphere model, advanced special effects, and lifelike post-processing. Unigine wants people not to know if what they're seeing is real or not, and the team has achieved that in a big way.

I'll be writing another article on Unigine 2.0 Engine, as it really is some mind blowing stuff - it deserves its own time in the spotlight.

Superposition UI & Benchmarks

Benchmark Options

Unigine provides plenty of customization in Superposition's benchmark mode, with multiple presets - and a custom option. I chose the custom option so I could tweak it, and really stress out our graphics cards at maximum settings, on specific resolutions.

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There are options for DirectX and OpenGL - while you can run Superposition in a window, or fullscreen - and then of course resolution. Unigine has provided the most extensive resolution support I've ever seen, with everything from 720p to 4K, 5K, 8K, and beyond. It's actually amazing to see, and well and truly welcomed. As someone who tests in over five resolutions as it is, it's going to make for some great testing in the near future.

Shaders and texture quality can be tweaked, but I've got them set to maximum - while depth of field and motion blur are both on by default. I've left them on for testing, and have maxed out everything else.

What Resolutions We Are Testing

I've run through Unigine's new Superposition on a bunch of different resolutions, bringing every single graphics card - even overclocked GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, to their knees.

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  • 1080p (1920x1080)
  • 1440p (2560x1440)
  • 4K (3840x2160)
  • UW (3440x1440)
  • 5K (5120x2880)
  • 8K (7680x4320)

Test System Specs

I've recently edited my GPU test bed, which was powered by the Intel Core i7-5960X processor, and shifted into the arms of Kaby Lake and Intel's new Core i7-7700K. GIGABYTE hooked us up with their awesome new AORUS Z270X-Gaming 9 motherboard, which is the heart and soul of my new GPU test platform.

Detailed Tech Specs

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K
  • Cooler: Nocua U12S
  • MB: AORUS Z270X-Gaming 9
  • RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) G.SKILL Trident Z 4000MHz DDR4
  • SSD: 1TB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
  • PSU: Corsair AX1500i
  • Chassis: In Win X-Frame

Detailed Look

There's a bigger article I've got coming that will detail the new system, but for now - here are some shots I've taken of the new system in action:

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Benchmarks - 1080p

Superposition - 1080p

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Benchmarks - 1440p

Superposition - 1440p

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Benchmarks - 4K

Superposition - 4K

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Benchmarks - 5K

Superposition - 5K

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Benchmarks - 8K

Superposition - 8K

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Final Thoughts

Unigine's Superposition benchmark has catapulted to the front of my benchmarking regime, as it scales beautifully across my suite of graphics cards - with some tricks up its sleeve. The ability to change through virtually every resolution known to man provides an extensive list of tools you can use for benchmarking, and the mix of photorealistic graphics crushes every part of your graphics card.

I ran Superposition through a wide array of graphics cards, on six different resolutions, even at the next big peak that won't be a standard for years - 8K. 7680x4320 is a major strain for any graphics card, but testing 4K, 5K and then 8K in Superposition showed us that Unigine has built it for the future - as I discovered something unique.

Superposition at 4K, 5K, and 8K begins stressing out the VRAM, so we noticed that the GTX 1080 wasn't doing so well - and performing at the level of the GTX 1070 at 4K. But, at 5K and 8K the HBM1 tech on AMD's older Radeon R9 Fury X comes into play with its 4096-bit memory bus and 512GB/sec. NVIDIA's use of GDDR5X @ 11Gbps on the GTX 1080 Ti, and especially the overclocked MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G really stretched their legs. Impressive to finally see some contrast in benchmarks with the Fury X taking some last swings before the Radeon RX Vega launches in a couple of months.

Right towards the end of this article, I began testing the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition, which I've successfully clocked to 12Gbps. The performance increase from the overclocked VRAM is really noticed at 4K, 5K, and 8K. I'll have some results up from that soon. Until then, Super Position has found a new home here at TweakTown - so expect some more time spent with this, and a look at the VR benchmark and more in the near future.

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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