Looking at our testbed you can see the same X79 machine that we've been using for a while now. With everything really covered in the testbed side of things in the above image, we can move onto the video cards that we'll be including in our graphs today with the first of course being the HIS HD 7850 IceQ X TurboX CrossFire setup.
Along with that we've got a number of high-end single GPU offerings to see just what kind of performance difference we have between this mid-range CrossFire setup and other high-end single GPU offerings which include the original HD 7970. Along with that we've also got the new GHz Edition HD 7970 along with the same card overclocked.
We've also got a bunch of cards from the NVIDIA side of things as well with the reference GTX 670 and GTX 680 present while we've also got the pre-overclocked GTX 680 2GB Phantom from Gainward to round out the collection of cards in our graphs today.
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.