3DMark Time Spy
Time Spy is a sign of things to come in PC gaming. Its advanced graphics engine has a huge number of draw calls, made possible by the power of Microsoft's DX12. According to 3DMark, this new benchmark throws five times more graphics content at the system than previous 3DMark tests. To a certain extent, this affects the CPU as much as the video card, but based on our extensive benchmarking using Time Spy, we're confident that the "Graphics Score," which is what we're reporting here, is entirely GPU-limited, and only the CPU score, which we haven't reported, is CPU-limited.
Interestingly, we see that all three SLI setups provide essentially the same results. You'll note that we've included scaling percentages in our bar graphs here and throughout this article to enable quick comparisons. We can see that Time Spy is scaling at 82%, which is quite good, but clearly not at the 100% scaling that would be ideal. We've found that 3DMark tests have typically scaled at least as well if not better than actual games, so it will be interesting to see whether Time Spy sets a highwater mark for SLI scaling in our tests. If that's true, then Nvidia has some explaining to do regarding the new HB SLI standard!
Crysis is as close to a universal PC benchmark as we've ever seen in an actual PC game. That was true of the original Crysis, a bit less so in the console-focused Crysis 2, but Crysis 3 was another game-changer, so to speak, when introduced in 2013. It was so forward-looking that no system could come close to maxing it out at 1080p when it was released. And yet, now we have a configuration that can make a resolution of 2560 x 1440 amazingly playable, approaching the 120fps that many gamers covet on their high-refresh-rate monitors.
While there is more of a difference here jumping to a dual-link SLI solution versus 3DMark Time Spy, we only gain 2% for the average, and nothing in terms of minimums. Perhaps more importantly, we see the dual bridges providing the same performance as the EVGA HB SLI Bridge.
With Battlefield 4, it made sense to test at 4K, as the 2560 x 1440 framerates are so insanely high (right around the 200fps framerate cap of the game engine). Pushing 100fps at 4K in no laughing matter... in fact, you might cry tears of joy at this performance! And to get the most out of a system like this, it looks like you really do need to move beyond a single SLI bridge. Going with dual bridges provides a 3% boost, while using EVGA's HB SLI Bridge provides a 5% jump. Given how much each incremental increase in performance costs with this level of components, going with a more modern SLI connector setup certainly seems to offer an attractive payback on your investment.
On the next page, we'll take a look at three more games.