Multi-GPU Scaling 2.0

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In lieu of Tom's Hardware's latest article regarding multi-GPU setups, scaling, and cost-effective purchases, I thought I'd finally get to work on some benchmarking. The Tom's Hardware article in question can be found here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stutter-crossfire,2995.html

It makes some interesting points and I highly recommend reading through. Additionally, if you're interested you can check out the "1.0" version of this topic that I posted a few months ago here:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1305770941

The main purpose of this thread was to reevaluate World of Warcraft's multi-GPU scaling using my system as a benchmark. With improvements in drivers, a third GPU available for testing and a few patches to WoW, the results may have changed a bit.

What I did was put one single Radeon 5870 up against a 5870+5970 Tri-Fire setup using a /timetest from the Krazzworks to Crushblow. The results should speak for themselves based on numbers alone, but here's the big catch: When in a single GPU configuration, the Radeon 5870 was clocked at 850MHz core and 1200MHz memory. When paired up with the 5970, all three GPUs were downclocked to 735MHz core clock and 1010MHz memory. If scaling were truly nonexistent, the 5870 would outperform the Crossfire configuration.

Fortunately, the game does scale, and quite well, if you don't mind me adding. Here's a chart that shows the results of the benchmarking.

http://i.imgur.com/QlPZNRM.png

The left result of each color are the numbers that the sole 5870 performed. The right results are from the triple GPU configuration.

The scaling is quite phenomenal, pulling a 55% boost to average FPS, a 77% boost to maximum FPS, and a whopping 207% boost to minimum FPS. Note that at these numbers, however, I am likely hitting a CPU bottleneck pretty hard. Mid-range GPUs would likely see even further scaling.

I would like to look at the substantial boost to minimum framerate. In my previous thread I disregarded minimum FPS as a fluke in the /timetest, but with the results I've been coming up as of late it appears that it is a moderately accurate measurement. The Tri-Fire configuration not only shows higher numbers on paper, but also feels far more fluent in movement. There aren't nearly as many FPS drops into the 40-50 range. Consistent FPS tends to be more comfortable to play with even if the average framerate is a bit lower.

Looking back at some of the points in the Tom's Hardware article, triple- and quadruple-GPU setups don't necessarily lead to significant gains in performance as dual-GPU setups do, but they do help eliminate stuttering by more evenly balancing the workload. The theoretical performance gains aren't as high, but the improvement to playability can be fairly large. That said, I do still recommend SLI/Crossfire builds for players looking for great performance in certain price ranges. GTX 460/560 Ti SLI setups, for example, are quite popular due to their relatively low price and superb scaling.

I will include my Config.wtf file's contents at the time of benchmarking and the raw numbers in the post below. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to share your own benchmark results, by all means feel free to post! I would love to hear from you. :)

*EDIT: Updated benchmark image URL.
________________________________________________
The wise speak only of what they know. - J.R.R. Tolkien
CORE I7 3.8GHz | 12GB RAM | ATI 5970+5870 | F120 SSD
Live Support: irc://chat.freenode.net/wowtech
Single GPU average benchmarks:

Minimum FPS: 13.816
Average FPS: 62.087
Maximum FPS: 202.128


Triple GPU average benchmarks:

Minimum FPS: 27.029
Average FPS: 96.789
Maximum FPS: 359.112


Config.wtf file contents:

SET locale "enUS"
SET enterWorld "1"
SET maxFPS "0"
SET maxFPSBk "0"
SET hwDetect "0"
SET gxTripleBuffer "1"
SET gxMultisample "8"
SET videoOptionsVersion "4"
SET playIntroMovie "4"
SET mouseSpeed "1.5"
SET DesktopGamma "1"
SET Gamma "1.000000"
SET readTOS "1"
SET readEULA "1"
SET showToolsUI "1"
SET accounttype "CT"
SET ChatMusicVolume "0.29999998211861"
SET ChatSoundVolume "0.39999997615814"
SET ChatAmbienceVolume "0.29999998211861"
SET VoiceActivationSensitivity "0.39999997615814"
SET Sound_OutputQuality "2"
SET Sound_NumChannels "64"
SET Sound_EnableReverb "1"
SET Sound_MusicVolume "1"
SET Sound_AmbienceVolume "0.60000002384186"
SET Sound_EnableSoundWhenGameIsInBG "1"
SET terrainMipLevel "0"
SET farclip "1250"
SET groundEffectDensity "128"
SET groundEffectDist "260"
SET environmentDetail "150"
SET projectedTextures "1"
SET shadowTextureSize "2048"
SET textureFilteringMode "5"
SET componentTextureLevel "9"
SET weatherDensity "3"
SET realmName "Thrall"
SET gameTip "60"
SET Sound_EnableErrorSpeech "0"
SET Sound_MasterVolume "1"
SET graphicsQuality "5"
SET screenshotQuality "9"
SET gxApi "D3D11"
SET readScanning "-1"
SET readContest "-1"
SET readTerminationWithoutNotice "-1"
SET installType "Retail"
SET minimapTrackedInfo "2184"
SET checkAddonVersion "0"
SET uiScale "0.64999997615814"
SET Sound_EnableHardware "1"
SET shadowLevel "0"
SET specular "1"
SET Sound_SFXVolume "1"
SET repositionfrequency "0"
SET g_accountUsesToken "1"
SET Sound_ZoneMusicNoDelay "1"
SET waterDetail "3"
SET sunShafts "2"
SET shadowMode "2"
SET Sound_EnableMusic "0"
SET Sound_OutputDriverIndex "1"
SET Sound_OutputDriverName "Speakers (ASUS Xonar DG Audio Device)"
SET gxVSync "0"

________________________________________________
The wise speak only of what they know. - J.R.R. Tolkien
CORE I7 3.8GHz | 12GB RAM | ATI 5970+5870 | F120 SSD
Live Support: irc://chat.freenode.net/wowtech
I have updated this thread with my results, my take on it, and some various other information. I hope it proves to be of some use.
________________________________________________
The wise speak only of what they know. - J.R.R. Tolkien
CORE I7 3.8GHz | 12GB RAM | ATI 5970+5870 | F120 SSD
Live Support: irc://chat.freenode.net/wowtech
Nice read.

I was sent here by a rather helpful blue in search of some answers.

My current setup:
i7-920 @ 4.0GHz
12GB ddr3 @ 1806MHz
Radeon HD5970 x2 CF (yes that's 2x 5970's)
For sake of completion, mobo is an Asus rampage III extreme (x58 board)
Soundcard is an Xonar Essence STX
And the drive wow runs on is a WD Velociraptor 600GB.
OS is Win7 Ulti 64-bit

All drivers up to date ofc (although I've started having cursor corruption issues ingame since catalyst 11.7 / .8 again).

With crossfire enabled, in DX11 mode, I'm lucky to see anything over 20fps in raid situations. In dx9 mode, there's no notable difference in fps.
With CF disabled, my fps jumps significantly, holding a steady 50-60 in raids. However, enabling dx11 mode results in nothing but a flickering black screen 0.o

I've not had this sort of trouble with any other game. The machine blitz's through crysis 2 with the hi-res texture pack in dx11 mode without issues. I'm a bit lost as to why the machine struggles so much with wow.
That's a bit strange, Dekay. Disabling Crossfire with that setup doesn't work quite the way it does in a standard dual graphics card configuration. Basically, it's only turning off two GPU chips and disabling one 5970 altogether. The other 5970 - and its inherent Crossfire capabilities - should continue to run as before. Could you try running with one of the 5970s removed from the system altogether? That will keep you on a dual GPU setup without having to tinker around with the CCC settings quite as much and may help with diagnosing issues.
________________________________________________
The wise speak only of what they know. - J.R.R. Tolkien
CORE I7 3.8GHz | 12GB RAM | ATI 5970+5870 | F120 SSD
Live Support: irc://chat.freenode.net/wowtech
06/22/2012 08:56 AMPosted by Topapa
Do I have to play with any profiles etc? or have to configure something in wow itself?


You won't have to configure anything manually, but you will want to install the latest Catalyst Application Profiles if you haven't already:

http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/Pages/crossfirex-app-profiles.aspx

Also, you probably won't see a large difference in raids or populated cities (if you see any difference at all). When you have a lot of players in a small area it tends to hit the processor pretty hard, but doesn't affect the graphics performance too much. It's out in the open that you'll notice the biggest gains from additional graphics cards.

Lastly, to see the performance benefits from Crossfire, ensure you're running the game in fullscreen DirectX 11 mode. Windowed modes don't scale at all, and DirectX 9 scaling is considerably worse.
________________________________________________
The wise speak only of what they know. - J.R.R. Tolkien
CORE I7 3.8GHz | 12GB RAM | ATI 5970+5870 | F120 SSD
Live WoW Tech Support: irc://chat.freenode.net/wowtech
i currently have:
i5- 3570k at 3.4 ghz
8 gb of CORSAIR Vengeance DDR3
1 GTX 560 TI
Mobo - ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE

Right now I get lag if I try to play on ultra settings, I feel like I shouldn't.. what settings should I have my stuff at.. also what hardware would I need to require to get no lag at all.. Will a second 560 TI make a huge difference?
Your FPS WILL drop drastically due to some add-ons. I normally get around 90 FPS with a gtx770m graphics card, but with dbm and recount I'm getting around 60. I had to delete many unnecessary add-ons like npc scan and others due to the fact it was causing my FPS to drop down to 20 steadily and was causing a lot of issues. Blizzard is trying to implement a lot of features in game to reduce the need of add-ons. It would be great if they implemented a deadly boss mods feature as well. I dislike using add-ons because a lot of them hinder performance.
This is with an Asus g750j by the way. It should have no issues running the game at a higher rate.
holy necro batman

02/25/2014 05:58 PMPosted by Tundru
I normally get around 90 FPS with a gtx770m graphics card, but with dbm and recount I'm getting around 60.

this is how wow looks at your uber high end gfx card: /shrug whatevs
this is how wow looks at your cpu: I LIKEY CPU even tho i only use 2 1/2 cores

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