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SLI GTX560 VS HD6970 benchmarks (30 games tested on 1600x1200 res)

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#1
Question whether to invest into NVIDIA SLI setup bothers us every year, because every year new games are released, yet developers very often release the games too early and forget about SLI/CF or general performance.

Many gamers perhaps only now have the chance to upgrade their 2007 - 2010 gaming video cards into something modern and probably could not even play many awesome games on max settings, released since 2007. So now they want to know whether to buy one high-end card or two mid-range gaming cards for the same price - this is exactly what this review is about! Right now two GTX560 1 Gb cards are priced at half the price of GTX570 or HD6970 2 Gb and though it is clear that theoretically 2X GTX560 have more processing power than single high-end counterparts, the insufficient scaling of SLI might make them worse. We will test 40 games and find out should anyone invest into NVIDIA SLI.

Test setup

AMD Phenom II X6 1075T, 3000 MHz core
HyperX 4X2 Gb DDR3, 1333 MHz, CL7
Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3
CobaNitrox IT-7750SG, 750 W, 80+
Corsair Force GT 60 Gb
SLI GeForce GTX560 1 Gb, 800 MHz core
Radeon HD6970 2 Gb, 890 MHz core
Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-bit/Forceware 296.10/Catalyst 12.3/

A mid-range PC for mid-range video cards sounds fair. Actually i have bought two GTX560 cards and my friend has bought a HD6970 - we both payed the same price. No overclock is applied on any of the hardware. Obviously HD6970 is no longer the crop of the cream card, but it is still a very competitive card. If you have not checked the many reviews about PCI-Express 8X/8X VS 16X/16X scaling difference, then i am telling you now - the difference is unnoticeable.

1) All of the tested games are tested on maximum possible settings, and all effects are turned on, except anti-aliasing is set to 4X, resolution set to 1600X1200.

2) Only games supporting over 60 FPS are tested.

3) Games not scaling in SLI will not be tested.

4) Game engines will not duplicate - every tested game has it's unique engine; for example only one Unreal 3 engine game will be tested.

5) Every game screenshot shown will represent the actual place in the game tested.

6) 15 seconds fraps benchmark is used, except in games those have their own bench. 1 fraps run is skipped, second or third is selected.

Now, before we start the test, immediately there 10 games, which do not scale at all or even scale negative, so do not use SLI on these games:

Blur 1.024
Alan wake 1.02
F1 2010 1.01
Neverwinter Nights 2 1.23
Singularity 1.1
Section 8 Prejudice
Starcraft 2 1.43
Dead Space 2 1.0
Assasin's Creed 1.02


Let's start the test! I will remind the anxious that the resolution in all games is 1600X1200 + 4X AA

Crysis Warhead DX10, patched 1.1.1711, CryEngine 2 engine




Guess it's no surprise which game starts the test - the father of all benchmark games Crysis! Even though SLI benefit is not great, it makes a difference between playable and unplayable.

Crysis 2 DX11 + high resolution texture pack, patched 1.9, CryEngine 3 engine




This is completely turned upside down from original Crysis - even a single GTX560 beats HD6970. SLI is a must, as it almost doubles the frame rates. Crushing NVIDIA victory.

Stalker Clear Sky DX10, patched 1.5.10, x-ray 1.5 engine




WTH is this? There is a game that lags more than Crysis and Metro? Yes! It's Stalker Clear Sky! But with SLI you can make unplayable into playable!

Battlefield Bad Company 2 DX11, unpatched, Frostbite 1.5 engine




Even unpatched BF BC 2 is SLI whoop-ass ready and takes over HD6970! Nice!

Metro 2033 DX11, patched, 4A engine




I did not use the in-game build benchmark, since it crashes often for no reason. SLI is an absolute must - it beats HD6970 and turns unplayable into playable.

Cryostasis DX10, patched 1.1, Atmosphere 4 engine




This game is most known not for it's extensive NVIDIA Physx use, but as the most unoptimized and worst laging game for ATI cards of all time - it used to produce some 10 FPS on lowest settings working even on HD5970! Now things have changed and the newest AMD cards can keep up the pace with NVIDIA cards, but the game is still unplayable with AMD cards, as there is a strange micro-stuttering when playing with AMD cards. Noway in hell do you play this game on AMD cards - never! Lucky for NVIDIA cards SLI works really nice!

Red Faction Guerrilla DX10, patched 1.02, Geo-Mod 2.0 engine




SLI does not scale over 100 %? Wrong. This is an amazing SLI own-age example.

Deus Ex Human Revolution DX11, patched 1.2.633, Crystal engine




I really had to find a "suitable" place in this game for frames to drop below 100 per second to stress it most... SLI GTX560 easy beats HD6970.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11, patched, Asura engine




When i first reviewed this game a year ago on CF HD4870, it was unpatched, and scaling was twice negative from single card! Now it is twice positive even though it is SLI and not CF - but that is still not enough for SLI GTX560 with almost 100 % scaling to beat a single HD6970!

FEAR 3 DX11, unpatched, Despair engine




Before Crysis became the father of all benchmarks, there was FEAR. All FEAR games scaled very well on both ATI and NVIDIA. The latest installment tends to keep the tradition as SLI doubles the frames and leaves HD6970 behind.

Far Cry 2 DX10, patched 1.02, Dunia engine




Actually SLI is not worth the deal - a single GTX560 will produce all the minimal frames you need. In-game benchmark was used.

Red Orchestra 2 Heroes Of Stalingrad DX9, patched, Unreal 3 engine




I have tested many Unreal 3 games and non of them scaled at all, but this one not only scales - it does SLI very good!

Call Of Juarez The Cartel DX11, patched 1.1, Chrome 5 engine




Single GTX560 beats HD6970, but SLI scaling is poor - same can be said for all the other Chrome 5 games. The options menu of this game is the worst i have ever seen and it looks more shitty than original Call Of Juarez - WTH???...:wtf:

Syndicate DX9, unpatched, Starbreeze engine




It looks like there is no patch for this game yet, but SLI still works moderately. SLI is not recommended, however, as single GTX560 beats HD6970.

Jericho DX9, patched 1.01, Mercury engine




Older game does not mean it's bad for testing 2011 hardware - as it was a system hog back in 2007, it is perfect for testing modern video cards and boy... Sick SLI scaling over 100 % crushes HD6970 to dust! Remember that the price of SLI GTX560 is equal to HD6970...:eek:

Timeshift DX9, patched 1.02, Saber3D engine




Another older game, yet such a good SLI example - it is only that you will not be needing any SLI when one GTX560 can handle all.

Necrovision DX10, patched 1.2, Pain engine




The good old Painkiller Battle Out Of Hell would run smooth on these settings on a 6800GT at 120 FPS, yet Necrovision laughs at this fact and demands brutal hardware for an old, but modified 2004 engine. Both SLI and CF always scaled very good in this game and here SLI scaling is almost 100 %, beating HD6970.

Hard Reset DX9, patched, Road Hog engine




SLI scaling is weak and not enough to beat HD6970.

Serious Sam 3 DX10, unpatched, Serious 3.5 engine




SLI scaling is nothing special and thus can not touch HD6970. For a cartoon style game the graphics look just awesome, unlike in Serious Sam 2..

Duke Nukem Forever DX11, patched 1.01, Unreal 613 engine




Again i strove to find a place in this game where it would lag below 100 FPS - and i could not find one! No need for SLI really, but if it will work - it will beat HD6970.

Just Cause 2 DX10, patched, Avalanche 2.0 engine




Good SLI scaling still can not touch the mighty HD6970. SLI is still recommended as it scales over 50 %, but generally this is a really AMD biased game.

Dead Space DX9, unpatched 1.0.0.222, Visceral engine




Since Dead Space 2 was SLI non existing, i had to use the original game and even though there is no need for SLI to enjoy the game, it is amazing how well optimized this game is having in mind that there was never released a patch!

Dragon Age 2 DX11 + high resolution texture pack, patched 1.04, Lycium engine




Once again SLI makes a difference from unplayable to playable. Sadly Neverwinter Nights 2 did not scale at all, because in places it is unplayable with a single GTX560 just like at places Dragon Age 2 is.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood DX10, patched 1.02, Anvil engine




The original game uses a different engine, but does not scale, this one, however, at least gives some try to scale and that is enough to beat HD6970.

Lost Planet Extreme Condition DX10, unpatched, MT Framework 1.2 engine




Could not test Lost Planet 2, because it simply kept crashing... Well whatever - the first game is also a demanding one and needs SLI badly! Even unpatched the game buffs the frames from SLI so good, that it beats HD6970.

PT Boats Knights Of The Sea DX10, patched 1.3, Storm 4.0 engine




Another example of "SLI over 100 %" - don't troll on me, i am not imagining things, just writing what i see on my monitor! Even though an older game, but with all the explosions, smoke and water splashes the frames can drop dramatically so SLI is an absolute must!

Battlestations Pacific DX9, patched 1.2, engine - eee what engine?




Never i have seen a so NVIDIA biased game... Suffice to say that an 8800GT trashes HD4870 to dust in this game, so there should not be any surprise that GTX560 does the same to HD6970.

HAWX 2 DX11, patched 1.01, again wtf is the engine of this?




How nice - a modern simulator and over 100 FPS! An in-game benchmark was used. Single GTX560 beats HD6970 and SLI is of the charts!

Dirt 2 DX11, patched 1.1, EGO engine




Since F1 2010, based in EGO 1.5 engine did not scale at all, i had to use an older example of the EGO engine and to my surprise the scaling is ballistic!

World In Conflict DX10, patched 1.009, Mass Tech engine




Do not trust the minimal frame rates of this game! I removed them since they show BS! For example on lower resolutions the minimal FPS would be lower than on 1600X1200 and in general the minimal frame rates are always the same within the range of 20 +/- 3 no mater what card you toss... SLI GTX560 is equal to HD6970 here.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conclusions:

SLI GTX560 wins in 24 out 30 games, 1 tie
HD6970 wins in 5 out of 30 games, 1 tie
 
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Yo_Wattup

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#2
Please dont tell me your screen reso is 1024 x 768...
 
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#3
Please dont tell me your screen reso is 1024 x 768...
It is 1600X1200 and i also have 1920X1200 results, though i will post them later depending on my mood and response from the community..
 

Yo_Wattup

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#4
Please do post those results, otherwise your review will not get much recognition here. :toast:
 
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Benchmark Scores Bad
#5
No Crossfire 6970's ? whats the point of posting the sli then ..
 
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#6
No Crossfire 6970's ? whats the point of posting the sli then ..
What's the point of your stupid post? SLI GTX560 1 Gb cost the same as single (where i live) HD6970 2Gb - 470 $ - that is the point! Do you even read what i wrote? I wasted much of my personal time on this benchmark, and and i see i don't get a single thank's! Is there at least one person in techpowerup who appreciates what i have done?
 
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#7
What's the point of your stupid post? SLI GTX560 1 Gb cost the same as single (where i live) HD6970 2Gb - 470 $ - that is the point! Do you even read what i wrote? I wasted much of my personal time on this benchmark, and and i see i don't get a single thank's! Is there at least one person in techpowerup who appreciates what i have done?
I appricate it man Chill I dident mean to piss you off i give you props for your review we all love bench marks man we just see them so much we just kinda forget to say thanks i guess xD what country are you in just wondering?
 

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#8
What's the point of your stupid post? SLI GTX560 1 Gb cost the same as single (where i live) HD6970 2Gb - 470 $ - that is the point! Do you even read what i wrote? I wasted much of my personal time on this benchmark, and and i see i don't get a single thank's! Is there at least one person in techpowerup who appreciates what i have done?
I know I do. Was just waiting on your 1920x1200 results. Chill brothah! :toast:
 
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#9
Lots of work there...thanks! Im interested in the higher rez results as well...:toast:
 
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#10
3) Games not scaling in SLI will not be tested.

Now, before we start the test, immediately there 10 games, which do not scale at all or even scale negative, so do not use SLI on these games:

Blur 1.024
Alan wake 1.02
F1 2010 1.01
Neverwinter Nights 2 1.23
Singularity 1.1
Section 8 Prejudice
Starcraft 2 1.43
Dead Space 2 1.0
Assasin's Creed 1.02
Why?

What's the point of your stupid post? SLI GTX560 1 Gb cost the same as single (where i live) HD6970 2Gb - 470 $ - that is the point! Do you even read what i wrote? I wasted much of my personal time on this benchmark, and and i see i don't get a single thank's! Is there at least one person in techpowerup who appreciates what i have done?
If you include these games then the differential isn't so big is it?
 
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#11
1920X1200 BENCHMARKS

Sorry that i did not include as many games as before - technical difficulties...

You mean why i did not include the tests with games not scaling at all? Hm, i guess i wanted this to be an exclusive SLI GTX560 benchmark, not a single card benchmark..

I appricate it man Chill I dident mean to piss you off i give you props for your review we all love bench marks man we just see them so much we just kinda forget to say thanks i guess xD what country are you in just wondering?
Cool then! Check my sig if interested in details.

Lots of work there...thanks! Im interested in the higher rez results as well...:toast:
Well i am glad now, if at least some of you guys found benefit out of this benchmark! Higer res benchmarks were posted some time ago.
 
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#12
Thanks Im very interested as Im puzzled if I should get another 560Ti or some single card. Can you please run some Battlefield 3 ? Id like to know how it runs with 1GB mem on ultra details in 1920 res.
 
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#13
Why?



If you include these games then the differential isn't so big is it?
What for ? Google for single card reviews. Hes trying to prove a point that getting two 560Ti makes sense.
 
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#14
Thanks for the benchmarks, they must have taken ages to carry out! I wonder if SLI scaling would be better on a core i7?

Also, had no idea that JC2 was so favourable to AMD cards!
 
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#15
there only sometimes thing just to remember. Dual card needs maybe a better PSU (has it's about 100w more for the SLI), might have higher temperature, and higher noise.

But thanks for this ;)

P.S. Crysis 2, it's because of the tesselation, which on this game nVidia has a better result. On HD7k, AMD is way better the the older gen.
 
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#16
What for ? Google for single card reviews. Hes trying to prove a point that getting two 560Ti makes sense.
The thread title says "SLI GTX560 VS HD6970 benchmarks (30 games tested on 1600x1200 res)"


So naturally, I would think that he is comparing games between the two. So if you include those games that don't do well with SLI and the fact that 2 GTX560's would use way more power than a 6970, I would say that the 6970 would be the better choice.

If you had a GTX560 and a 500w-600w power supply, you would also need to upgrade your power supply as well if you wanted a second GTX560. Now how does that make sense?
 
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#17
If he stated that SLi doesn't work with these games thats instant info for me that 6870 wins. Sure if you go SLi you will sometimes hit games that don't work with it well and thats a built in flaw and advantage of having a single video card.
In my case this kind of upgrade seems like a nice option. I bought a 750W PSU actually not thinking of SLI but to be on the mega safe side with it.
 
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#18
Just for interest sake, can you tell me the results you get in Crysis 2 without DX11 enabled? :toast:

Also good review LOTS of games and its interesting to see how well the 6970 realy is thanks.
 
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#19
I wonder if SLI scaling would be better on a core i7?

Also, had no idea that JC2 was so favourable to AMD cards!
SLI with Core i7 would be much better. Honestly speaking Core 2 Duo E8400 overclocked to 3600 MHz was slightly faster in games than Phenom II X6 1075T overclocked to 3600 MHz - tested both, except in some heavy multi-threaded games, where Phenom II was ahead! Nehalem Core i7 at 3600 MHz would be much faster than both Phenom II and Core 2 Duo and a Sandy Bridge Core i7 would make a Phenom II cry. My Phenom II X6 1075T can only compete with Yorkfield Core 2 Quad processors like Q9650, it is way behind Nehalem Core i7 and not even close to Sandy Bridge Core i7. The worst is that Phenom II X6 1075T clock per clock is still slightly faster than the new FX-6100 in games.

Thanks Im very interested as Im puzzled if I should get another 560Ti or some single card. Can you please run some Battlefield 3 ? Id like to know how it runs with 1GB mem on ultra details in 1920 res.
First of all those are not GTX560 Titanium cards - but standard GTX560. I don't have BF 3, but it uses the same updated engine as BF BC 2, so expect a good scaling anyway. I do not even play many of those games i listed, many of them i downloaded just for the test, and then deleted them!
 
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#20
Just for interest sake, can you tell me the results you get in Crysis 2 without DX11 enabled? :toast:
Lucky Crysis 2 is one of the games i really play now. I tested Crysis 2 SLI GTX560 in another scene (not the one in the screenshot) on ultra settings, at 1600X1200 resolution, 4X AA.

DX11: 30/49/52
DX9: 49/63/68

Personally i don't see much difference between DX9 and DX11, and i play on DX9 to get smoother frame rates.
 
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#21
thanks for these stuff now going to check your 1920x1080 bechies
 
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#22
Lucky Crysis 2 is one of the games i really play now. I tested Crysis 2 SLI GTX560 in another scene (not the one in the screenshot) on ultra settings, at 1600X1200 resolution, 4X AA.

DX11: 30/49/52
DX9: 49/63/68

Personally i don't see much difference between DX9 and DX11, and i play on DX9 to get smoother frame rates.
Sweet thanks for that, not as big a difference in frame rates as i thought compared to DX11 as i get even higher FPS with my 2 4870X2's funny enough then the 560's in this game. Not as good MIN frames but max frames are alot higher. 40/73/110
 
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#23
Great write up!

I thought Alan Wake was patched by now, don't have the game though so can't say for sure. Its true that SLI can be a hit and miss, it gets most annoying when it doesnt work for new games but hwne it does, it flies!
 
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#24
Sweet thanks for that, not as big a difference in frame rates as i thought compared to DX11 as i get even higher FPS with my 2 4870X2's funny enough then the 560's in this game. Not as good MIN frames but max frames are alot higher. 40/73/110
Wow, WTH are you talking here? You can not compare any of your frame rates with mine - did not i said clearly that i select custom places in some of the games? How stupid must one be not to realize that this is a CUSTOM benchmark, not the in-game build, know what i am saying? Take no offense and understand! Crysis 2 benchmark can not be compared to any other benchmark. Only Far Cry 2, HAWX 2 and World In Conflict can be compared to other standard benches. I can find a place in Crysis 2 where FPS would drop to 20 and rise to 100 too! And i myself tested HD4870X2 before, but not in Crysis 2:

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=684245
 
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#25
Wow, WTH are you talking here? You can not compare any of your frame rates with mine - did not i said clearly that i select custom places in some of the games? How stupid must one be not to realize that this is a CUSTOM benchmark, not the in-game build, know what i am saying? Take no offense and understand! Crysis 2 benchmark can not be compared to any other benchmark. Only Far Cry 2, HAWX 2 and World In Conflict can be compared to other standard benches. I can find a place in Crysis 2 where FPS would drop to 20 and rise to 100 too! And i myself tested HD4870X2 before, but not in Crysis 2:

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=684245
Wow there boy slow down, im not talking about the inbuilt benchmark in Crysis 2 either, im talking about the same as what your done basically, not 100% the same but pretty much.

I run the same Rez, settings the lot and ive played through 80% of the game with Fraps on and im anal that way im always looking at it to see the max, min etc frames and thats what i get :)