Single page Print

Our testing methods
The jackwagon ran every test at least three times, and then he reported the median of the scores produced.

The test systems were configured like so:

Processor Athlon II X3 455 3.3GHz
Phenom II X2 565 3.4GHz
Phenom II X4 840 3.2GHz
Phenom II X4 975 3.6GHz
Phenom II X4 1075T 3.0GHz
Phenom II X4 1100T 3.3GHz
Pentium Extreme Edition 840 3.2GHz Pentium G6950 2.8GHz Core i7-990X 3.46 GHz
Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz
Core i3-560 3.33 GHz
Core i5-655K 3.2GHz
Core i5-760 2.8GHz
Core i7-875K 2.93GHz
Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.67GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H Asus P5E3 Premium Asus P7P55D-E Pro Intel DX58SO2
North bridge 890GX X48 P55 X58
South bridge SB850 ICH9R ICH10R
Memory size 8GB (4 DIMMs) 8GB (4 DIMMs) 8GB (4 DIMMs) 12GB (6 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair
CMD8GX3M4A1333C7
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
CMD8GX3M4A1600C8
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
CMD8GX3M4A1600C8
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
CMP12GX3M6A1600C8
DDR3 SDRAM
Memory speed 1333 MHz 800 MHz 1066 MHz 1333 MHz
1066 MHz
1333 MHz
1333 MHz
Memory timings 8-8-8-20 2T 7-7-7-20 2T 7-7-7-20 2T 8-8-8-20 2T
7-7-7-20 2T
8-8-8-20 2T
8-8-8-20 2T
Chipset
drivers
AMD AHCI 1.2.1.263 INF update 9.1.1.1025
Rapid Storage Technology 9.6.0.1014
INF update 9.1.1.1025
Rapid Storage Technology 9.6.0.1014
INF update 9.1.1.1020
Rapid Storage Technology 9.5.0.1037
Audio Integrated
SB850/ALC892 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers
Integrated
ICH9R/AD1988B with 
Microsoft drivers
Integrated
P55/RTL8111B with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers
Integrated
ICH10R/ALC892 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers

Processor Core i7-950 3.06 GHz
Core i7-970 3.2 GHz
Core i7-980X Extreme 3.3 GHz
Core i3-2100 2.93 GHz
Core i5-2400 3.1 GHz
Core i5-2500K 3.3 GHz
Core i7-2600K 3.4 GHz
Atom D525 1.8 GHz AMD E-350 1.6GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte X58A-UD5 Asus P8P67 Deluxe Jetway NC94FL-525-LF MSI E350IA-E45
North bridge X58 P67 NM10 Hudson M1
South bridge ICH10R
Memory size 12GB (6 DIMMs) 8GB (4 DIMMs) 4GB (2 DIMMs) 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair
CMP12GX3M6A1600C8
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
CMD8GX3M4A1600C8
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
CM2X2048-8500C5D
DDR2 SDRAM
Corsair
CMD8GX3M4A1333C7
DDR3 SDRAM
Memory speed 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 800 MHz 1066 MHz
Memory timings 8-8-8-20 2T 8-8-8-20 2T 5-5-5-18 2T 7-7-7-20 2T
Chipset
drivers
INF update 9.1.1.1020
Rapid Storage Technology 9.5.0.1037
INF update 9.2.0.1016
Rapid Storage Technology 10.0.0.1046
INF update 9.1.1.1020
Rapid Storage Technology 9.5.0.1037
AMD AHCI 1.2.1.275
Audio Integrated
ICH10R/ALC889 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers
Integrated
P67/ALC889 with
Microsoft drivers
Integrated
NM10/ALC662 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers
Integrated
Hudson M1/ALC887 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6235 drivers

They all shared the following common elements:

Hard drive Corsair Nova V128 SATA SSD
Discrete graphics Asus ENGTX460 TOP 1GB (GeForce GTX 460) with ForceWare 260.99 drivers
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition
Power supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 Watt

Thanks to Asus, Corsair, Gigabyte, and OCZ for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Thanks to Intel and AMD for providing the processors, as well, of course.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1900x1200 in 32-bit color. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled in the graphics driver control panel.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our testing methods:

  • Many of our performance tests are scripted and repeatable, but for some of the games, including Battlefield: Bad Company 2, we used the Fraps utility to record frame rates while playing a 60-second sequence from the game. Although capturing frame rates while playing isn't precisely repeatable, we tried to make each run as similar as possible to all of the others. We raised our sample size, testing each Fraps sequence five times per video card, in order to counteract any variability. We've included second-by-second frame rate results from Fraps for those games, and in that case, you're seeing the results from a single, representative pass through the test sequence.
  • We used a Yokogawa WT210 digital power meter to capture power use over a span of time. The meter reads power use at the wall socket, so it incorporates power use from the entire system—the CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics solution, hard drives, and anything else plugged into the power supply unit. (The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet.) We measured how each of our test systems used power across a set time period, during which time we ran Cinebench's multithreaded rendering test.

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