ATI 5000 Series Roundup
Published: 20th January 2010 | Source: ASUS | Price: £117 - £540 |
Need for Speed Shift and 3DMark Vantage
Need for Speed : Shift
EAs venerable Need for Speed series has come a long way since it's first incarnation as a demonstration title for the Panasonic 3DO technology. It initially was street driving, quickly diverged into it's more familiar cops/robbers and street racing styles, before being reborn as NFS : Shift. We here at OC3D applaud the new direction of the series that has breathed new life into the sagging franchise by being graphically excellent and enjoyable to play. Although it is not an element on test today the engine sounds are as good as any game in the world.
When it was first released there were a lot of technical issues on ATI cards, especially with 4870x2 performance, so it's great to see those have been eliminated with patches and ATIs always speedy driver updates. Once again everything was maxed out and we applied 8xAA for some exceptional visuals.
As is becoming quite a theme throughout our testing the 5770 made a good fist of it, but came up a little short even in its overclocked state. Once we moved on to testing the 5850 we broke the 60fps average we all seek to obtain and things only improved. Perhaps most noticeable is that even the crossfire 5870s which so far have swept all before them couldn't really give us the big gains in frame rates we'd expect for the price differential.
Love it or hate it, there is no escaping it. Since it's origins a decade ago the Futuremark (or Mad Onion as it was) benchmark suite 3D Mark has been the only number anyone cares about. We all have different tastes in gaming. We all have different image quality levels we're willing to accept. But everyone knows their 3D Mark score.
Normally we put the synthetic benchmarks at the beginning and see if the real-life results bear this out. Today we decided to change it around and so we didn't have any preconceptions about the performance of a certain card or combination. Anyone looking at the P-Score below would instantly dismiss the 5770 as not worth the time yet our gaming tests showed that, whilst it's no silicon behemoth, it can easily cope with most games providing you're sensible with the anti-aliasing.
However, if you want a graph that shows how cards scale synthetically, this certainly is it. More money = higher score and that appears to be it. Most noticeably though this is the first time the 5970 has looked like coming close to the 5870 Crossfire setup and beating out the 5850 Crossfire system by some margin. Make of it what you will.
Phew. Let's condense this epic test into a few pithy paragraphs for the low-attention span types in the audience.