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Eyefinity Examined with Sapphire HD 6970 x4 and Core i7 3960X - Test System Setup

By: Shawn Baker | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Nov 25, 2011 3:57 pm



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.


Like we just mentioned in our introduction, you're not going to see anything too out of the ordinary here when it comes to our testbed. We've actually removed the 990FX setup like we did in our 4-Way article, but we've also removed the Z68 in this case as the results from that aren't all that relevant here.


We've also cut 3DMark 11 and Unigine Heaven out along with our AA / AF tests. For comparisons sake we've also dropped the 1920 x 1200 results. Instead we're mainly just comparing the performance of the 3600 x 1920 resolution against that single larger 2560 x 1600 resolution that's present on our 30" monitor.


At 3600 x 1200 we've ran our Sandy Bridge-E setup in two forms; the first is with four HD 6970s installed, the second is with three HD 6970s installed. This will help give us a good idea on the scaling of the system when we move to this resolution which is around 70% more intensive than just a single 2560 x 1600 monitor.


That should just about cover everything, so let's get into some games to see what exactly is going on.


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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