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Hitman's DirectX 12 renderer can stress every part of a system, so we cranked the game's graphics settings at 1920x1080 and got to testing.

Get used to this sight. With a GTX 1080 Ti and an i7-8700K working in tandem, we get the highest average frame rates and lowest 99th-percentile frame times out there in Hitman. Yes, this is a big gap, but it's not unprecedented. Our recent review of the Core i9-7980XE showed similar gains for the Skylake architecture compared to Zen.

These "time spent beyond X" graphs are meant to show "badness," those instances where animation may be less than fluid—or at least less than perfect. The formulas behind these graphs add up the amount of time our graphics card spends beyond certain frame-time thresholds, each with an important implication for gaming smoothness. Recall that our graphics-card tests all consist of one-minute test runs and that 1000 ms equals one second to fully appreciate this data.

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 30-Hz refresh rate. Go lower than that with vsync on, and you're into the bad voodoo of quantization slowdowns. 16.7 ms correlates to 60 FPS, that golden mark that we'd like to achieve (or surpass) for each and every frame.

To best demonstrate the performance of these systems with a powerful graphics card like the GTX 1080 Ti, it's useful to look at our three strictest graphs. 8.3 ms corresponds to 120 FPS, the lower end of what we'd consider a high-refresh-rate monitor. We've recently begun including an even more demanding 6.94-ms mark that corresponds to the 144-Hz maximum rate typical of today's high-refresh-rate gaming displays. Finally, we've added a 5-ms graph to see whether any of our chips can sustain 200 FPS or better for any length of time.

Our 16.7-ms graph shows that none of these CPUs hold up the graphics card for any appreciable length of time past that mark. What's really incredible is that the Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake chips spend less than one-fourth the time of the next-best chip hampering the GTX 1080 Ti's efforts to stay above 120 FPS, and they continue that exceptional performance even when we consider the 6.94-ms mark. One has to stretch all the way out to 5 ms before these chips start accumulating substantial amounts of time in our graphs. That's hair-raising high-refresh-rate gaming at peak visual quality in Hitman, and nothing else on the market can come close.