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Our testing methods
This page is just boilerplate. He think he's all fancy showing exactly how he tested everything, but nobody reads it. You should see the number of e-mails he gets—even from inside of chip companies, no joke—asking basic questions about the test setup.


The test systems were configured like so:

Processor AMD FX-4350
AMD FX-6350
AMD FX-8350
AMD A10-5800K
AMD A10-6700
AMD A10-6800K
Motherboard Asus Crosshair V Formula MSI FM2-A85XA-G65
North bridge 990FX A85 FCH
South bridge SB950
Memory size 16 GB (2 DIMMs) 16 GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type AMD Performance
Series
DDR3 SDRAM
AMD Performance
Edition
DDR3 SDRAM
Memory speed 1600 MT/s 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 9-9-9-24 1T 9-9-9-24 1T
Chipset
drivers
AMD chipset 13.4 AMD chipset 13.4
Audio Integrated
SB950/ALC889 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6873 drivers
Integrated
A85/ALC892 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6873 drivers
OpenCL ICD AMD APP 1124.2 AMD APP 1124.2
IGP drivers - Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 (Trinity)
Catalyst 13.101 RC1 (Richland)

 

Processor Core i3-3225
Core i5-3470
Core i7-2600K
Core i7-3770K
Core i7-4770K Core i7-3970X
Core i7-4960X
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V Pro Asus Z87-Pro P9X79 Deluxe
North bridge Z77 Express Z87 Express X79 Express
South bridge
Memory size 16 GB (2 DIMMs) 16 GB (2 DIMMs) 16 GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair
Vengeance Pro
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
Vengeance Pro
DDR3 SDRAM
Corsair
Vengeance
DDR3 SDRAM
Memory speed 1600 MT/s 1600 MT/s 1600 MT/s
1866 MT/s
Memory timings 9-9-9-24 1T 9-9-9-24 1T 9-9-9-24 1T
9-10-9-27 1T
Chipset
drivers
INF update 9.4.0.1017
iRST 12.5.0.1066
INF update 9.4.0.1017
iRST 12.5.0.1066
INF update 9.4.0.1017
iRST 12.5.0.1066
Audio Integrated
Z77/ALC892 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6873 drivers
Integrated
Z87/ALC1150 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6873 drivers
Integrated
X79/ALC898 with
Realtek 6.0.1.6873 drivers
OpenCL ICD Intel SDK for
OpenCL 2013
Intel SDK for
OpenCL 2013
Intel SDK for
OpenCL 2013

They all shared the following common elements:

Hard drive Kingston HyperX SH103S3 240GB SSD
Discrete graphics XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double Dissipation 3GB with Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 drivers
OS Windows 8 Pro
Power supply Corsair AX650

Thanks to Corsair, XFX, Kingston, MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and AMD 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.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

Some further notes on our testing methods:

  • The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1920x1080 in 32-bit color. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled in the graphics driver control panel.
  • 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 encoded a video with x264.
  • After consulting with our readers, we've decided to enable Windows' "Balanced" power profile for the bulk of our desktop processor tests, which means power-saving features like SpeedStep and Cool'n'Quiet are operating. (In the past, we only enabled these features for power consumption testing.) Our spot checks demonstrated to us that, typically, there's no performance penalty for enabling these features on today's CPUs. If there is a real-world penalty to enabling these features, well, we think that's worthy of inclusion in our measurements, since the vast majority of desktop processors these days will spend their lives with these features enabled.

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.