Review: Excellent scaling and sweet eye candy
ATI has been talking about DirectX 11 for quite some time and the reason is quite simple – Nvidia doesn’t have it and ATI does. Today, we decided to show some results that we got in DiRT 2, one of the few games that support DirectX 11.
DiRT 2 works in DirectX 9 or DirectX 11 mode, and the difference is a lot of features that you can read about on the next page. For DirectX 11 mode you need adequate hardware, or to be precise one of AMD's Evergreen family graphics cards. The entire family of cards includes the HD 5970, HD 5870, HD 5850, HD 5770 or the HD 5750, which can be bought today (minus the HD 5970, sub.ed.).
If you are running Windows XP, you are limited to DirectX 9, while under Windows Vista, you can “force” the game to work in one of the two modes, but only if Service Pack 2 and DirectX End-User Runtime (at least August 2009) are installed. We tried it under Windows 7 which has all of these features and can give you the full DirectX 11 experience.
It is recommended to force the game in DirectX 9 mode if you aren’t equipped with adequate hardware and this is done by editing “forcedx9=true” field in the hardware_settings_config.xml file. Bear in mind that AMD has issued a driver patch which includes support for CrossFireX in DiRT 2.
From these results we can conclude that AMD did a great job with CrossFireX support in DiRT 2, and as you can see the HD 5870 in CrossFireX mode performed quite well.
At 1920x1200 and 4xMSAA, dual HD 5870 cards in CrossFireX scale pretty nicely versus one HD 5870 1GB card, and end up 47% faster. Sapphire's HD 5970 2GB comes close, but not enough to take the cake as it lags behind by 14%.
At 2560x1600, CrossfireX ends up on top once again by beating Sapphire's HD 5970 2GB and a single HD 5870 1GB by 15% and 52%, where the latter again shows some nice scaling.
Two HD5870's in CrossfireX seem to really dominate our tests, as 2560x1600 and 4xMSAA see it come out a winner versus Sapphire HD 5970 2GB by 16%. The HD 5870 1GB loses to the Crossfired combo by as much as 54%. Interestingly enough, it seems like scaling improves as our tested scenarios get tougher.
Geforce cards had post processing set to 'medium', due to absence of 'high' setting, whereas Radeon cards were set at 'high'. At the same time, this is the reason behind EVGA's nice results.