In a rough-and-ready assessment of the cards' bang for buck, we've aggregated the 1,920x1,200 and 2,560x1,600 frame-rates for five games, excluding card-bashing Crysis, normalised them* and taken account of the cards' prices.
But there are more provisos than we'd care to shake a stick at. We could have chosen five different games, the cards' prices could have been derived from other sources and pricing tends to fluctuate daily.
Consequently, the tables, below, highlight a metric that should only be used as a yardstick for evaluating comparative performance with price factored in. Other architectural benefits are not covered, obviously.
HEXUS.bang4buck at 1,920x1,200
Radeon HD 5870
Radeon HD 5850
Radeon HD 4890
GeForce GTX 295
|BFG GeForce GTX
|XFX GeForce GTX
|XFX GeForce GTS
|Average frame-rate at 1,920x1,200 (inc. Crysis)||91.82
|Actual aggregate marks at 1,920x1,200||524.80||439.41||393.60||529.65||302.79||578.90||404.15||377.17||575.94||326.81|
|Aggregate marks, normalised*, at 1,920x1,200||412.40||369.73
|Current pricing, including VAT||£299
|HEXUS.bang4buck score at 1,920x1,200||1.380||1.858||2.304||1.659||2.198||1.270||1.428
* the normalisation refers to taking playable frame rate into account. Should a card benchmark at over 60 frames per second in any one game, the extra fps count as half. Similarly, should a card benchmark lower, say at 40fps, we deduct half the difference from its average frame rate and the desired 60fps, giving it a HEXUS.bang4buck score of 30 marks. The minimum allowable frame rate is 20fps but that scores zero.The HEXUS.bang4buck score only takes the performance and price into account, of course.
What we see is that two-card Radeon HD 5770 benchmarks at around the same level as the Radeon HD 5870, once the five games have been taken into account at 1,920x1,200. The fact that the dual-GPU solution is (at least) £50 cheaper is reflected in the higher HEXUS.bang4buck metric.
Casting aside the ruminations on architecture, two GeForce GTX 260s are still very, very potent performers, matching the more-expensive GeForce GTX 295 yet costing significantly less.