We started off with the usual benchmarks of the 3DMark (2013); the first round was Fire Strike, with extreme levels of tessellation and volumetric illumination, as well as complex smoke simulation using compute shaders and dynamic particle illumination. For the second round, the more gruelling tests of Fire Strike Extreme, with more tessellation, more particle effects and more taxing DirectCompute calculations, will tax the cards more.
The MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G is the clear runner-up in this round, when the card is pitted against the ASUS Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3GB GDDR5. To give due credit to the card, it was trailing behind the ASUS R9 280X card, which was the leader of the pack in this test, by thin margins in the range of 1- 1.4%. This is mainly due to the MSI card's slightly more conservative clock speeds for both its GPU and graphics memory. To recap, the MSI was in its OC Mode, with its GPU core rated at 1050MHz; while the ASUS card's core was rated at 1070MHz. In addition, the memory module of the ASUS card was overclocked to 6400MHz but the MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G had video memory rated at the default 6000MHz.
The MSI card pulled ahead of our reference AMD Radeon HD 7970 by approximately 3.6%. Against the strongest fielded NVIDIA card, the GTX 770, the MSI card was ahead by a margin in the range of 6.6- 7.2%. The MSI card was about 36% better than the reference GTX 760 in this test.
We put the cards through the Crysis 3 game title, to determine how well they handle the game's CryEngine 3, with extreme amounts of tessellation, per-pixel per-object motion blur, Bokeh Depth of Field, displacement mapping on small terrain, particle and volumetric lighting and fog shadows, dynamic cloth and vegetation, dynamic caustics and diffuse shadows.
The NVIDIA GTX 700 series cards managed to pull ahead in this test, with the GTX 770 turning in the best performance. Among the AMD cards, with anti-aliasing turned on, the ASUS card was the best performer; however, even with AA turned off, the cards failed to churn out average frame rates above 30fps, at the resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.