While nothing in our testbed has changed, we've expanded our testing a little more by expanding upon the AA / AF side of things. Where we would in the past test three games at one resolution, we're now testing five games at two resolutions.
We've been adding these results over the past few months to our graphs, but this is the first time we're implementing them in our reviews. Not all video cards have been tested in the new tests, but most have been. Increasing the AA line of benchmarking helps make sure we can apply more pressure to our video card setups today and make them work harder than ever, providing you a better representation of gaming performance.
As always, though, before we get into the testing side of things let's quickly cover the video cards that will be included in our benchmarks today. Along with the Gainward GTX 680 2GB Phantom, we've also got the GTX 670, GTX 680 and 4GB GTX 680 from Palit.
On the AMD side of things we've got the high-end HD 7950 and HD 7970 along with the older dual GPU offering from AMD the HD 6990 to help round out everything here.
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.