Looking at the testbed there's nothing out of the ordinary with the same X79 testbed being used. Before we get into the testing side of things, though, we want to take a look at how we went with overclocking via the help of MSI Afterburner.
Having a look below we can see the exact kind of overclock we managed to achieve out of the video card. Starting with the core you can see we managed to push that up from the stock 915MHz / 994MHz via turbo to 1061MHz / 1140MHz. This isn't a bad overclock at all and should bring with it a decent boost in performance.
Of course the other thing we overclocked was the 2GB of GDDR5 that is present. Looking above you can see we pushed that from 6008MHz QDR to 6460MHz QDR. This isn't a huge overclock, but combined with the bump in core clock, we should see a nice boost in overall performance that may put the model ahead of the GTX 680 at stock.
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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