Fall 2012 GPU and Driver Comparison Roundup

Author:David Schroth

Editor:Brent Justice

Date: Monday , November 12, 2012

With the recent release of new beta drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the upping of clocks by AMD, significant performance gains have been claimed by both parties for current generation video cards. We will investigate with a 6-way roundup comparison to see if we can crown a champion.

Battlefield 3

We are using the downloaded version of Battlefield 3 via Origin. This game supports two different antialiasing methods, traditional MSAA via the "Deferred AA" option and shader based FXAA via the "Post AA" option. We evaluate the highest playable gameplay settings and take into account performance and image quality, striving for the best. In that regard, we will use whatever the appropriate AA setting, or combination of AA settings, are best for the video cards being used. Our testing procedure and evaluation of graphics features in BF3 are explained in our Battlefield 3 Gameplay Performance and IQ evaluation. We are using the latest patch for this game.

Highest Playable Settings

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We were able to play through Battlefield 3 at 2560x1600 with 4X MSAA and all highest in-game settings enabled on the HD 7970, GTX 680 and the GTX 670. The HD 7950 required us to drop down to 2X MSAA and the HD 7870 and GTX 660 Ti were not able to utilize MSAA and remain playable. On the top end, the HD 7970 outperformed the GTX 680 by a 16.9% margin even though there was no noticeable difference in game play performance.


In Apples-to-Apples testing, we ran all four video cards at 1920x1080 with 4X MSAA, 16X AF, FXAA High and all in-game Ultra graphics options selected.

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With all six cards running at the same settings, it continues to confirm that the HD 7970 is performing better than the GTX 680 within Battlefield 3, however, between the GTX 660 Ti and the HD 7870, it is virtually a tie.