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Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and we've reported the median result.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core i7-965 Extreme 3.2GHz
System bus QPI 6.4 GT/s (3.2GHz)
Motherboard Gigabyte EX58-UD5
BIOS revision F7
North bridge X58 IOH
South bridge ICH10R
Chipset drivers INF update 9.1.1.1015
Matrix Storage Manager 8.9.0.1023
Memory size 6GB (3 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Dominator TR3X6G1600C8D
DDR3 SDRAM
at 1333MHz
CAS latency (CL) 8
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 8
RAS precharge (tRP) 8
Cycle time (tRAS) 24
Command rate 2T
Audio Integrated ICH10R/ALC889A
with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers
Graphics Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 OC 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 5850 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 5870 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Dual Radeon HD 5870 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Asus GeForce GTX 285 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
Dual Asus GeForce GTX 285 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
GeForce GTX 295 2GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
Hard drive WD Caviar SE16 320GB SATA
Power supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Watt
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition RTM
OS updates DirectX March 2009 update

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Their quality, service, and support are easily superior to no-name DIMMs.

Our test systems were powered by PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W power supply units. The Silencer 750W was a runaway Editor's Choice winner in our epic 11-way power supply roundup, so it seemed like a fitting choice for our test rigs.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.