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X79 / Z68 / 990FX CrossFireX HD 6970 x3 Performance Analysis - Test System Setup

We throw our three Sapphire HD 6970s into the new X79 platform and see how performance goes.

| Editorials in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Nov 23, 2011 5:18 am

TweakTown image content/4/4/4433_99_x79_z68_990fx_crossfirex_hd_6970_x3_performance_analysis.png

 

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

 

Today we're looking at three platforms in the form of our 990FX Crosshair V Formula with the AMD FX-8150, Z68 Maximus IV Extreme-Z with the Intel i7 2600k and finally our X79 Rampage IV Extreme with the brand new Intel i7 3960X.

 

Like our original article, we'll be running all our platforms overclocked and they will all be running at different speeds. The idea behind this is that we've got three flagship platforms and our goal is to show you how each platform will actually perform. We saw some people complain about the fact that it was unfair for the AMD platform because it was clocked 440MHz lower than the 2600k.

 

The problem is, if we clocked our 2600k and 3960X at the maximum speed we could get out of the FX-8150, it's unfair for the Intel platforms. The other thing is, you're not going to buy a 2600k or 3960X and go, 'well I'm going to clock it 400MHz lower because that's all the AMD platform can do'. The problem is, people will continue to not read these words and will continue to complain. In the end, though, for people who have taken the time to read this, they'll have an understanding of why we've chosen to do what we did.

 

Anyway, before we get into everything, we've got to cover the clocks. The 2600k is running at 5.2GHz while our FX-8150 is running at 4.76GHz. This brings us to our i7 3960X which actually finds itself sitting almost directly in the middle of the two platforms coming in at an even 5GHz.

 

At the moment we're finding that the 2600k continues to offer us a higher overclock than the 3960X and it will be interesting to see what happens in the performance side of things. During our original testing we found that at stock the i7 3960X offered superior performance when compared to the 2600k at 5.2GHz; this was in tasks that were so much more CPU intensive. It will be interesting to see what happens in this situation when we've got three video cards running.

 

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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