Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly set up.
This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. Also, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2 is set five years on from COD4 and brings a new villain into town: Vladimir Makarov. All the trouble start when Makarov frames the US for a terrorist attack on a Russian airport (yes, the infamous airport level). The rest of the story follows the same intertwined British and US mission format as before, and the missions are all incredible set-pieces that involve storming oil rigs, climbing icy cliffs and, of course, an adrenaline packed snowmobile chase. Visually the 3D engine seems to be the same as the COD4 one, it's tweaked and nearly abused to push out the very best of its capability. The result is a very decent looking game really, smoke, fog, sun, vegetation, detailed texturing of objects, buildings and characters.
Our image quality settings selected are the most complex you can set in-game. 4x AA, maxed out Anisotropic Filtering, the best textures, everything is enabled to its maximum capability. Any decent graphics card can run the game, it's that simple. There's no need to give in to lower quality settings.
Image Quality setting:
16x Anisotropic Filtering
All settings maxed out
We'll do two charts per test session / game today. Above, the results for single GPU, SLI and 3-way SLI. That is your scaling performance.
The 2nd chart is a comparative chart, a performance chart if you will. Orange is the GeForce 580 3-way SLI test. We added other SLI and Crossfire tests as much as we could in these charts, BUT and I do want to make this clear, some older entries are done with slightly older drivers as it is impossible to keep all results continuously updated.
We use the GeForce Forceware 262.99 beta driver with the GTX 580'ies.
On ATI's side we advise you to mostly compare to the new 6800 series, as these are fully up-to date with Catalyst 10.10 drivers and the very latest Crossfire profile patch to be certain that Crossfire profiles are working properly in all games. Bear in mind though that a R6870 is slightly slower than an R5870. In their defense, we have not yet had the time to manage 3-way Crossfire performance tests.
As you can see in the upper chart already, 3-way SLI is being hindered by the dreaded processor bottleneck, even with all image quality settings flicked to VERY HIGH.
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