|MSI N560GTX-Ti GeForce Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 30 January 2011|
Page 5 of 19
Video Card Testing Methodology
With the widespread adoption of Windows7 in the marketplace, and given the prolonged and extensive pre-release testing that occurred on a global scale, there are compelling reasons to switch all testing to this highly anticipated, operating system. Overall performance levels of Windows 7 are favorable compared to Windows XP, and there is solid support for the 64-bit version, something enthusiasts have anxiously awaited for years. After almost a year of product testing with Win7-64, I can vouch for its stability and performance; I can't think of any reasons why I would want to switch back to XP.
Our site polls and statistics indicate that the over 90% of our visitors use their PC for playing video games, and practically every one of you are using a screen resolutions mentioned below. Since all of the benchmarks we use for testing represent different game engine technology and graphic rendering processes, this battery of tests will provide a diverse range of results for you to gauge performance on your own computer system. All of the benchmark applications are capable of utilizing DirectX 10 or DirectX 11, and that is how they were tested. Some of these benchmarks have been used widely for DirectX 9 testing in the XP environment, and it is critically important to differentiate between results obtained with different versions. Each game behaves differently in DX9 and DX10 formats. Crysis is an extreme example, with frame rates in DirectX 10 only about half what was available in DirectX 9.
At the start of all tests, the previous display adapter driver is uninstalled and trace components are removed using Driver Cleaner Pro. We then restart the computer system to establish our display settings and define the monitor. Once the hardware is prepared, we begin our testing. According to the Steam Hardware Survey published at the time of Windows 7 launch, the most popular gaming resolution is 1280x1024 (17-19" standard LCD monitors) closely followed by 1024x768 (15-17" standard LCD). However, because these resolutions are considered 'low' by most standards, our benchmark performance tests concentrate on the up-and-coming higher-demand resolutions: 1680x1050 (22-24" widescreen LCD) and 1920x1200 (24-28" widescreen LCD monitors).
Each benchmark test program begins after a system restart, and the very first result for every test will be ignored since it often only caches the test. This process proved extremely important in several benchmarks, as the first run served to cache maps allowing subsequent tests to perform much better than the first. Each test is completed five times, the high and low results are discarded, and the average of the three remaining results is displayed in our article.
A combination of synthetic and video game benchmark tests have been used in this article to illustrate relative performance among graphics solutions. Our benchmark frame rate results are not intended to represent real-world graphics performance, as this experience would change based on supporting hardware and the perception of individuals playing the video game.
Intel P55 Express Test System
DirectX 9/10 Benchmark Applications
DirectX 11 Benchmark Applications
Video Card Test Products
Just a quick word on overclocking the GTX 560 Ti, and the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC in particular. In the space of about 5 minutes I was able to bump up the operating frequency of the GPU core from 880 MHz to 975 MHz. I probably could have gotten higher, and I was tempted to push for the magical, mythical 1.0 GHz, but I was in a hurry to write the article. Sorry..... Another couple of hours proved that it could run any benchmark I threw at it without burning up or mis- calculating. Even Furmark just heated it up to 62C after half an hour of 3D furball gymnastics. NOW, I believe NVIDIA when they say that they were able to get genuine clock increases from the new transistor layout, without sacrificing the heroic overclocking ability that the GTX 460 exhibited to everyone who bought it or tested it. Way to go, Green Team! MSI did their part in all of this by providing cleaner power than the standard design allows for, and for using that marvelous Twin Frozr cooler design that first appeared on the N460GTX Hawk about six months ago. The combination provides a very supportive and encouraging environment for the GPU, and it shows in the results. If only our kids responded as well.