The new 5000 series ATI graphics cards and 400 series NVIDIA models are the most advanced on the market and DiRT 2 utilizes many aspects of their DX11 technology such as Hardware tessellation on water, cloth and crowd surfaces. There is also DirectCompute 11 accelerated high definition ambient occlusion and Full Floating point high dynamic range lighting as well as full screen resolution post processing. Some of these such as HADO and HDR are always enabled but hardware tessellated animated crowds and dynamic water are only turned on with ULTRA settings.
Testing was performed at 2560×1600 with 8x anti-aliasing, 16x anisotropic filtering and maximum in game settings.
We mentioned on the last page that Crysis is a game where Radeon cards dont offer an ideal level of scaling as we add GPUs, that isnt the case with Dirt 2 where the Sapphire 5970 Toxic gives us a significant increase in framerates over the 5870 which itself scores impressively. The main benefit of the 5970 in this particular game would be the ability to connect two large resolution displays and still maintain playable framerates.
Looking at the NVIDIA cards this is a game where they all have great performance. The most notable results being the comparison between our GTX 470s that offer a better gaming experience at 2560×1600 than the GTX 465 which cannot compete at this level.