We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.
We've got an absolute slew of cards here to look at alongside the new HD 7870. Of course we've got the HD 7850 here today to see what kind of performance increase an extra $100 US gets us along with the HD 7770, HD 7950 and HD 7970.
We've also got some HD 6000 representation in the form of the HD 6870 and HD 6950 while on the NVIDIA side of things we've got the GTX 560 Ti, GTX 570 and GTX 580 which help round out the line up here today.
We've got a bunch of cards and it will be interesting to see where performance sits on the new HD 7870. The HD x800 series in general has always represented quite strong value and the HD 7850 has helped keep that reputation going. Now we need to find out if the HD 7870 can continue the trend.
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.