Tessellate me, babyHardware-based tessellation is a cornerstone of DX11. The ability to efficiently generate massive geometry and then to apply what's known as a displacement map to it makes it an alluring technique for adding complexity and detail to a scene without a huge computational cost.
Unigine's Heaven 2.0 benchmark tests the ability of DX11 GPUs to provide varying levels of tessellation and extra in-benchmark detail.
Here's the standard benchmark run at 1,920x1,200 with 4x AA and 16x AF. No tessellation is activated.
We see a lot more geometry being used. The flagstones have depth and the steps on the right-hand side are well-defined.
We ran four DX11 cards through the tessellation test at each setting.
Even more so as the tessellation is turned up to extreme. GeForce GTX 4x0 are tessellation monsters, but the Radeons do a decent-enough job with moderate settings.