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Testbed and Methods

We are going to check out the hardware demands of Futuremark 3DMark11 on the following testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor (3.33 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Scythe SCKTN-3000 Katana 3 CPU cooler;
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme mainboard (Intel X58 Express chipset);
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3 x 2 GB, 1333 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Samsung SpinPoint F1 HDD (1 TB, 32 MB buffer, SATA II);
  • Ultra X4 850W modular power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

We used the following versions of ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce drivers:

  • ATI Catalyst 10.11 and 10.10e (with hotfix) for ATI Radeon HD;
  • Nvidia GeForce 263.09 and 260.99 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce.

The graphics cards’ drivers were configured to ensure maximum texture filtering quality and minimize the effect of software optimizations used by default. Transparent texture antialiasing was enabled. As a result, ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce graphics card drivers were set up in the following way:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Anti-Aliasing: Use application settings/Standard Filter
  • Morphological filtering: Off
  • Texture Filtering Quality: High Quality
  • Surface Format Optimization: Off
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • Anti-Aliasing Mode: Adaptive Multi-Sampling
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia GeForce:

  • Texture filtering – Quality: High quality
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • CUDA - GPUs: All
  • Set PhysX configuration: Auto-select
  • Ambient Occlusion: Off
  • Other settings: default

We used the Extreme preset and benchmarked 14 graphics cards:

Premium Category

  • ATI Radeon HD 5970
  • ATI Radeon HD 5870
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 580
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 570
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 480
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470

Performance Category

  • ATI Radeon HD 6870
  • ATI Radeon HD 6850
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB

Mainstream Category

  • ATI Radeon HD 5770
  • ATI Radeon HD 5750
  • ATI Radeon HD 5670
  • Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 430

Since we are interested in highest-quality visuals whether it you can achieve them with your driver or in-game settings, we will benchmark our graphics cards in 3DMark 11 using the Extreme preset. We run our tests at the following standard resolutions: 1600x900, 1920x1080 and 2560x1600.

 
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