I've gotten hooked on the speed and silence of SSDs, and I've converted nearly every computer I own to one. That includes most of the test systems in Damage Labs, but the first-gen 240GB drives on our GPU test rigs became limiting as game storage requirements increased.
Happily, the folks at Kingston stepped in and provided a pair of 480GB HyperX SSDs to solve that problem. We now use HyperX drives extensively in both our CPU and GPU rigs, and we've had very good luck with them. Also, the storage subsystem is almost never a meaningful bottleneck in any of our tests.
To generate the performance results you're about to see, we captured and analyzed the rendering times of every single frame of animation during each test run. For an intro to our frame-time-based testing methods and an explanation of why they're helpful, you can start here. Please note that, for this review, we're only reporting results from the FCAT tools developed by Nvidia. We sometimes also report results from Fraps, since both tools are needed to capture a full picture of animation smoothness. However, testing with both tools can be time-consuming, and our window for work on this review was fairly small. We think sharing just the data from FCAT should suffice for now.
Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Our test systems were configured like so:
|Chipset||Intel X79 Express|
|Memory size||16GB (4 DIMMs)|
DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
|Memory timings||9-9-9-24 1T|
|Chipset drivers||INF update
Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise 220.127.116.113
with Realtek 18.104.22.16871 drivers
|Hard drive||Kingston HyperX 480GB SATA|
|Power supply||Corsair AX850|
|OS||Windows 8.1 Pro|
|GeForce GTX 650 Ti||GeForce 334.69 beta||928||-||1350||1024|
|Asus GTX 650 Ti Boost||GeForce 334.69 beta||1020||1085||1502||2048|
|Zotac GTX 750||GeForce 334.69 beta||1033||1111||1253||1024|
|Asus GTX 750 Ti||GeForce 334.69 beta||1072||1150||1350||2048|
|Radeon R7 260X||Catalyst 14.1 beta||1100||-||1625||2048|
|Sapphire R7 265||Catalyst 14.1 beta||925||-||1400||2048|
Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Kingston, Gigabyte, and OCZ for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. AMD, Nvidia, and the makers of the various products supplied the graphics cards for testing, as well.
Also, our FCAT video capture and analysis rig has some pretty demanding storage requirements. For it, Corsair has provided four 256GB Neutron SSDs, which we've assembled into a RAID 0 array for our primary capture storage device. When that array fills up, we copy the captured videos to our RAID 1 array, comprised of a pair of 4TB Black hard drives provided by WD.
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.
In addition to the games, we used the following 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.
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