On the testbed side of things you shouldn't see anything that you haven't seen out of recent reviews with our 3960X at 4.7GHz and our ASUS Rampage IV Extreme motherboard. Before we get into the performance side of things, though, we want to take a little bit of a closer look at what exactly we're doing today in terms of video cards and graphics settings.
On the video card side of things we've got a strong lineup of setups from both NVIDIA and AMD. Starting off with NVIDIA, we're going to be looking at the GTX 580 in SLI, GTX 580, GTX 570 and GTX 560 Ti. On the AMD side of things we've got the HD 6970 in CrossFire, HD 6990, HD 6970, HD 6950, HD 6870 and HD 6850.
On the graphics side of things we're going to be using the "High" preset which is second to the "Very High" one. DirectX 11 features will be turned on and Tessellation is set to "Normal".
We messed around with a bunch of settings including Tessellation on "High" and the detail level set to "Very High", but we think at the moment with the current crop of cards from AMD and NVIDIA, the "High" / "Normal" preset is the best place to sit.
We'll talk about that a bit more when we wrap everything up in our final thoughts. Before we do that, though, we need to get into the benchmarking side of things. Outside of the cards and the settings, we'll be testing Batman: AC under the three normal resolutions we test at; that means 1680 x 1050 which has become one of the most common resolution for gamers, 1920 x 1200, that sweet spot albeit some are 1920 x 1080, and finally 2560 x 1600, that ultra-high resolution that we see on high end 30" monitors.
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.