Testbed Configuration and Testing Methodology
All participating graphics cards were tested in the new 3DMark 2013 in a system with the following configuration:
- Mainboard: Intel Siler DX79SI (Intel X79 Express, LGA 2011, BIOS 0494 from 7/23/2012);
- CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, 3.3 GHz, 1.2 V, 6 x 256 KB L2, 15 MB L3 (Sandy Bridge-E, C1, 32 nm);
- CPU cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE (2 x 135 mm fans at 900 RPM);
- Thermal interface: ARCTIC MX-4;
- Graphics cards:
- On AMD graphics processors:
- HIS 7970 IceQ X2 GHz Edition 3 GB (H797QMC3G2M) 1050/6000 MHz;
- HIS 7950 IceQ X2 Boost Clock 3 GB (H795QMC3G2M) 950/5000 MHz;
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition OC 2 GB 1050/5000 MHz;
- HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo X 2 GB (H785QT2G2M);
- AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1 GB 1000/4500 MHz;
- AMD Radeon HD 7750 1 GB 800/4500 MHz;
- On Nvidia graphics processors:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 2x2 GB 915/1020/6008 MHz;
- ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP 2 GB (GTX680-DC2T-2GD5) 1137/1202/6008 MHz;
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Ultra Durable 2 GB (GV-N670OC-2GD) 980/1059/6008 MHz;
- ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP 2 GB (TI-DC2T-2GD5) 1059/1137/6008 MHz;
- ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II OC 2 GB (GTX660-DC2O-2GD5) 1020/1085/6008 MHz;
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2 GB (GV-N65TOC-2GI) 1033/5400 MHz;
- On AMD graphics processors:
- System memory: DDR3 4 x 4GB Mushkin Redline (Spec: 2133 MHz / 9-11-10-28 / 1.65 V);
- System drive: Crucial m4 256 GB SSD (SATA-III,CT256M4SSD2, BIOS v0009);
- Drive for programs and games: Western Digital VelociRaptor (300GB, SATA-II, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” HDD silencer and cooler;
- Backup drive: Samsung Ecogreen F4 HD204UI (SATA-II, 2 TB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
- System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S2 fans at 1020 RPM; back panel: two Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPRO PL-1 fans at 1020 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
- Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC3;
- Power supply: Seasonic SS-1000XP Active PFC F3 1000 W (with a default 120 mm fan);
- Monitor: 27” Samsung S27A850D (DVI-I, 2560x1440, 60 Hz).
So, we have six graphics accelerators on AMD GPUs and six on Nvidia GPUs. The “red” camp is represented by products from three manufacturers: HIS, Sapphire and AMD. Here they are:
The honor of the “green” camp will be defended by six graphics cards from another three makers: Nvidia, Asus and Gigabyte:
As you may have already noticed, ten graphics cards out of twelve have increased default frequencies. However, we decided not to lower them to the nominal reference values, because the performance difference will be insignificant, and besides, most of the currently selling graphics cards are exactly the ones with slightly increased speeds anyway. So, we will test all the products “as is”.
In order to lower the dependence of the graphics cards performance on the overall platform speed, I overclocked our 32 nm six-core CPU with the multiplier set at 37x, BCLK frequency set at 125 MHz and “Load-Line Calibration” enabled to 4.625 GHz. The processor Vcore was increased to 1.49 V in the mainboard BIOS:
Hyper-Threading technology was enabled. 16 GB of system DDR3 memory worked at 2 GHz frequency with 9-11-10-28 timings and 1.65V voltage.
The test session started on February 7, 2013. All tests were performed in Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 with all critical updates as of that date and the following drivers:
- Intel Chipset Drivers 22.214.171.1244 WHQL from 02/07/2013 for the mainboard chipset;
- DirectX End-User Runtimes libraries from November 30, 2010;
- AMD Catalyst 13.2 Beta 5 (126.96.36.199) driver from 02/05/2013 + Catalyst Application Profiles 12.11 (CAP2) for AMD based graphics cards;
- Nvidia GeForce 313.96 Beta driver from 01/29/2013 for Nvidia based graphics cards.
All tests were run with standard settings. We did not adjust the benchmark launch settings in any way. Let’s check out the obtained results.