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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 reported the median results. Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Intel Core i7-3770K
Motherboard Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H
North bridge Intel Z77 Express
South bridge
Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type AMD Memory
DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-28
Chipset drivers INF update 9.3.0.1021
Rapid Storage Technology 11.6
Audio Integrated Via audio
with 6.0.01.10800 drivers
Hard drive Crucial m4 256GB
Power supply Corsair HX750W 750W
OS Windows 8 Professional x64 Edition

 

  Driver revision GPU base
clock
(MHz)
Memory
clock
(MHz)
Memory
size
(MB)
AMD Radeon HD 8790M Catalyst 9.011 RC2 900 1000 2048
AMD Radeon HD 7690M Catalyst 9.011 RC2 600 800 1024

Thanks to Corsair and Crucial for helping to outfit our test rig—and AMD for supplying the test platform and mobile GPUs, as well.

AMD-specific optimizations for texture filtering and tessellation were disabled in the control panel. Other image quality settings were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following test applications:

Some further notes on our methods:

  • We used the Fraps utility to record frame rates while playing a 90-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 tested each Fraps sequence five times per GPU in order to counteract any variability. We've included frame-by-frame results from Fraps for each game, and in those plots, you're seeing the results from a single, representative pass through the test sequence.

  • We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using a P3 Kill A Watt digital power meter. The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet, so its power draw was not part of our measurement. The GPUs were plugged into our MXM to PCI Express adapter, which was itself plugged into a motherboard on an open test bench.

    The idle measurements were taken at the Windows desktop with the Aero theme enabled. The GPUs were tested under load running Skyrim at its Ultra quality preset.

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.