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Catalyst 11.8 Windows 7 Driver Analysis - Test System Setup and Overclock

AMD has just released a new Catalyst driver for Radeon graphics cards - we check out performance under Windows 7.

| AMD Radeon Drivers in Software | Posted: Aug 20, 2011 9:52 am
Manufacturer: Game.AMD

TweakTown image content/4/2/4249_99_catalyst_11_8_windows_7_driver_analysis.png

 

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital and Corsair.

 

Why do you use a Z68 platform with x8 / x8 instead of an X58 one with x16 / x16? Z68 vs X58 - Which is The Better Gaming Platform?

 

We're today of course using our new Z68 testbed that you may have seen us use in the past week or two. At 5.2GHz the 2600k performs stronger than our previous X58 platform and if you're interested in finding out more, I recommend that you check out the article above.

 

As for the card and benchmark line up, we've gotten rid of the HD 5870 which we've been using for the past few months and included the HD 6990. With word that stock is going to become available again soon, it's a worthy addition to the lineup. Along with that, though, it also helps us implement CrossFire testing into the lineup.

 

The benchmark line up is also modified and offers a spread of really intensive games like Lost Planet 2 and Metro 2033 while including old favorites like Far Cry 2. Like we've already mentioned, our line up doesn't always include games that are targeted in the Performance Highlights, but we use a broad range of engines and hopefully some of the gains are seen in the lineup.

 

Let's get started!

 

 

The FPS Numbers Explained

 

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

 

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

 

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

 

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

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