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Test notes

Original Closest
GeForce GTX 670 GeForce GTX 760
GeForce GTX 680 GeForce GTX 770
Radeon HD 7870 GHz Radeon R9 270X
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Radeon R9 280X
The comparison on the following pages covers nearly all of the latest Radeons and GeForces, down to around $200. We've also included older Radeons dating back to the Radeon HD 5870, the first DX11-capable GPU. As you look through the results, you might be missing the most immediate prior generations, the Radeon HD 7000 series and the GeForce GTX 600 series. We haven't slighted those GPUs. They're here; they've just been re-branded. The table on the left shows how these re-branded Radeon and GeForce cards map to the older generation. Some of the clock speeds have been tweaked a bit during the re-branding, but generally, the differences are fairly minor.

Please note that our Battlefield 4 results come from a slightly different OS and software config that what's listed in the tables below. For our BF4 tests, we updated to Windows 8.1 and the latest graphics drivers, including GeForce 331.70 and Catalyst 13.11 beta 8.

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 usually 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:

Processor Core i7-3820
Motherboard Gigabyte X79-UD3
Chipset Intel X79 Express
Memory size 16GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9
DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24 1T
Chipset drivers INF update
Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise
Audio Integrated X79/ALC898
with Realtek drivers
Hard drive OCZ Deneva 2 240GB SATA
Power supply Corsair AX850
OS Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Driver revision GPU base
core clock
GPU boost
GeForce GTX 660 GeForce 331.40 beta 980 1033 1502 2048
GeForce GTX 760 GeForce 331.40 beta 980 1033 1502 2048
GeForce GTX 770 GeForce 331.40 beta 1046 1085 1753 2048
GeForce GTX 780 GeForce 331.40 beta 863 902 1502 3072
GeForce GTX Titan GeForce 331.40 beta 837 876 1502 6144
GeForce GTX 780 Ti GeForce 331.70 beta 876 928 1750 3072
Radeon HD 5870 Catalyst 13.11 beta 850 - 1200 2048
Radeon HD 6970 Catalyst 13.11 beta 890 - 1375 2048
Radeon R9 270X Catalyst 13.11 beta - 1050 1400 2048
Radeon R9 280X Catalyst 13.11 beta - 1000 1500 3072
Radeon R9 290 Catalyst 13.11 beta 5 - 947 1250 4096
Radeon R9 290X Catalyst 13.11 beta 8 - 1000 1250 4096

Thanks to Intel, Corsair, 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.