The tessellation questionHardware-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.
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 ran four DX11 cards through the tessellation test at each setting.
GTX 480 finally wins when the benchmark is set to Extreme mode. Why? Because of the aforementioned focus on geometry performance via GPU-wide PolyMorph engines, and geometry is one area where GF100 is particularly strong.
However, the Radeons do a decent-enough job with moderate tessellation.