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?
As for what we're dealing with today when it comes to the hardware side of things, you're not going to see anything out of the ordinary for the most part. Of course, saying that, there is one major change and that comes in terms of the video card. Instead of the MSI GTX 580 we've been using for our launch coverage, we've swapped that out for not one Sapphire HD 6970, but three.
We've again opted to use both our processors here today at their maximum overclock. While some may argue it's unfair for AMD as clock for clock Intel is already faster, others will argue that it's unfair for Intel to be clocked down because the AMD can't clock as high.
If you're going to go with one of these setups, you're going to want to clock it as high as you can and that's the reason we're using our i7 2600k @ 5.2GHz verses the FX-8150 @ 4.76GHz.
The only other thing we've changed here is that we've dropped 1680 x 1050 testing; instead we've just stuck to 1920 x 1200 and probably the more realistic, 2560 x 1600 which is the kind of resolution you'd be opting for with a three card setup. I'd say more important than Eyefinity for the simple reason EF hasn't got the same traction as larger, high resolution monitors.
With that said, make sure you keep an eye out for some Eyefinity testing soon.
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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