GeForce GTX 580 3-way SLI review

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VGA performance: Colin McRae DiRT 2 (DX11)

Colin McRae Dirt 2

Some months prior to release, when Codemasters announced that they'd be delaying their hotly upcoming and much anticipated title Colin McRae DiRT 2, nobody really understood the dynamic of delaying the PC version -- while Codemasters was already releasing the console version. As it turned out, ATI was really keen to see high-profile titles in the Christmas season carrying support for DirectX 11.

Codemasters took advantage of DirectX 11 features to add some more realism to the racing environment. You'll notice an improved representation of water with the help of displacement mapping and other surfaces as well as complex crowd animations which are tessellated for richer detail.

Image Quality setting:

  • Baja Iron Route 1
  • 8x Anti-Aliasing
  • 16x Anisotropic Filtering
  • All settings maxed out

Pretty nice performance considering our stringent image quality settings. The game looks incredible this way. Much to our surprise, SLI scaling with 3 GPUs caved in completely. See the tremendously flat line? That's a smack down in the middle indicator for a CPU bottleneck.

Here we have a first hand example of a sheer and utter performance limitation where the CPU holds back the three GPUs. And since three GPUs require slightly more CPU cycles than two GPUs, performance is even slightly lower than two way SLI.

Currently the chart shows most of the DX11 class cards available on the market today, so there you go. Again, we can't stress enough that we measure with DX11 activated, tessellation activated and even apply 8xAA. The Core i7 965 CPU @ 3.8 GHz processor simply cannot keep up with three GPUs. And yeah, this is a very modern game title.

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