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DirectX 11 results

Under DX11, all of the cards we tested deliver solid-looking frame-time plots with only a few major spikes. Going by average FPS, the R9 Fury X and the GTX 1070 are closely matched in their weight class, while the Radeon RX 480 opens a bit of a lead on the GTX 1060 6GB. Our 99th-percentile frame-time graphs tell the most interesting story, however. The GTX 1070 and the Fury X need more than 16.7 ms to deliver 99% of their frames, suggesting more variance than average FPS alone can tell us. Meanwhile, the RX 480 and GTX 1060 both deliver 99% of their frames in about 30 ms.

Recall that if a graphics card delivers every frame in 16.7 ms, it's maintained a perfect 60 FPS throughout our tests with no hitches. In a similar vein, a card would have maintained a perfect 30 FPS if it delivered every frame on a 33.3 ms interval. Any time spent beyond 16.7 or 33.3 ms is time that the average frame rate drops beneath 60 or 30 FPS. Let's see just how much time each card spends working on tough frames now.

Our "time-spent-beyond-X" graphs are meant to show "badness," or the amount of time in our one-minute test period where a card might have delivered less-than-fluid animation. The 50-ms threshold is the most notable one, since it corresponds to a 20-FPS average. We figure if you're not rendering any faster than 20 FPS, even for a moment, then the user is likely to perceive a slowdown. 33 ms correlates to 30 FPS or a 30Hz refresh rate. Go beyond that with vsync on, and you're into the bad voodoo of quantization slowdowns. And 16.7 ms correlates to 60 FPS, that golden mark that we'd like to achieve (or surpass) for each and every frame.

Between the RX 480 and the GTX 1060, the most interesting graphs may be those of the time spent beyond the 50-ms and 30-ms thresholds. The RX 480 spends slightly longer working on frames that take longer  than 50 ms and 33.3 ms to complete, and that time translates into slight-but-noticeable hitches during gameplay. The GTX 1060 spends barely any time past 33.3 ms working on frames, and it spends no time past 50 ms. That means it offers a perceptibly smoother gameplay experience, even if it's not turning out as many frames as the RX 480 does. 

The GTX 1070 and the Fury X, on the other hand, are about as evenly matched as they come in this title. Neither card spends any time past 50 ms working on tough frames, and the GTX 1070 only has a vanishingly slight hiccup that takes it past 33.3 ms. Each card spends about three seconds of our one-minute test period working on frames that would drop frame rates below 60 FPS, too. Let's see what switching over to Deus Ex's DX12 renderer can tell us about each card's performance.