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Testbed and Methods

We are going to investigate the gaming performance of ASUS EAH6990 in tandem with Radeon HD 6970 using the following universal 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 F3 HDD (1 TB, 32 MB buffer, SATA II);
  • Ultra X4 850 W Modular power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

We used the following ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce drivers:

  • ATI Catalyst 11.5 for ATI Radeon HD
  • Nvidia GeForce 270.61 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce GTX

The ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce graphics card drivers were configured in the following way:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Anti-Aliasing: Use application settings/4x/Standard Filter
  • Morphological filtering: Off
  • Tesselation: Use application settings
  • Texture Filtering Quality: High Quality
  • Enable Surface Format Optimization: Off
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • Anti-Aliasing Mode: Adaptive Multi-sample AA
  • 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

Below is the list of games and test applications we used during this test session:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Aliens vs. Predator (1.0.0.0, Benchmark) DirectX 11
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (1.0.5, Fraps) DirectX 9
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (1.04, Fraps) DirectX 9
  • Crysis 2 (1.4, Fraps) DirectX 10
  • Metro 2033 (Ranger Pack, 1.02, Benchmark) DirectX 11
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (1.6.02, Fraps) DirectX 11

Third-Person 3D Shooters

  • Just Cause 2 (1.0.0.1, Benchmark/Fraps) DirectX 11
  • Lost Planet 2 (1.1, Benchmark/Fraps) DirectX 11

RPG

  • Dragon Age II (1.02, Fraps) DirectX 11
  • Mass Effect 2 (1.01, Fraps) DirectX 9

Simulators

  • F1 2010 (1.01, Fraps) DirectX 11

Strategies

  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (1.3, Fraps) DirectX 9
  • Total War: Shogun 2 (1.1,Fraps) DirectX 11

Semi-synthetic and synthetic benchmarks

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage (1.1) DirectX 10
  • Futuremark 3DMark 11 (1.0.1) DirectX 11
  • Unigine Heaven benchmark (2.5) DirectX 11
  • Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Benchmark (1.04, Benchmark/Fraps) DirectX 11

We selected the highest possible level of detail in each game. If the application supported tessellation, we enabled it for the test session.

For settings adjustment, we used standard tools provided by the game itself from the gaming menu. The games configuration files weren’t modified in any way, because the ordinary user doesn’t have to know how to do it. We ran our tests in the following resolutions: 1600x900, 1920x1080 and 2560x1600. Unless stated otherwise, everywhere, where it was possible we added MSAA 4x antialiasing to the standard anisotropic filtering 16x. We enabled antialiasing from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate driver settings of ATI Catalyst and Nvidia GeForce drivers.

Besides ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5, we also tested the following products and tandems:

  • Asus Radeon HD 6990 + 6970
  • AMD Radeon HD 6970
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 SLIx3
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 SLI
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 590
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 580

Performance was measured with the games’ own tools and the original demos were recorded if possible. We measured not only the average speed, but also the minimum speed of the cards where possible. Otherwise, the performance was measured manually with Fraps utility version 3.4.2. In the latter case we ran the test three times and took the average of the three for the performance charts.

 
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