Having a look above you can see our main testbed which we'll be using today.
While we've already focused on the ASRock Z77 Extreme6 motherboard we'll be using the soon to be released i7 3770k Ivy Bridge processor. Most of the other components you'll see in our regular articles. The main thing we are focusing on, though, are the video cards we'll be using.
We've opted to use two video cards here today. The first is the brand new high-end Palit JetStream GTX 680 2GB that we found ourselves extremely impressed with. Alongside that we've opted for something a bit more mid-range and in that case we're using the Sapphire HD 7870 2GB.
The main thing we want to know is what kind of extra performance HyperFormance brings to the table. We'll be cutting down our benchmarks a little today, but we'll be including all our usual resolutions including 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600.
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.