Graphics Cards Guide
Test Setup & The EVGA PrecisionX Tweaker
As usual, the following are the specs of our trusty graphics card test bed system:-
- Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
- Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
- 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill memory in triple channel mode
- Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
With reference to our earlier article on the AMD Radeon HD 7900 series, we are recalling a smaller sample of cards for comparison against GeForce GTX 680.
The list of cards tested and driver versions used:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 300.99)
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview Version)
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview Version)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1560MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 280.26)
- AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5 (AMD Catalyst 11.11)
The list of benchmarks used:
- Futuremark 3DMark 11
- Crysis Warhead
- Far Cry 2
- Crysis 2
- Batman: Arkam City
- Dirt 3
- Unigine v2.1
EVGA PrecisionX - New Addition to our Test Setup
EVGA PrecisionX is a third party utility we used for tweaking our reference GeForce GTX 680 card. The software is able to access the NVIDIA API directly to adjust the settings of the card. We've used this to monitor our various tested games to allow you to see just how GPU Boost varies from application to another. Additionally, we've also used this tool for our overclocking runs.
- Power Target: this will push the card to draw more than its rated TDP of 195W (which is 100% by default). This is strongly recommended for power tweakers only.
- GPU Clock Offset: this slider is targeted at overclockers as it will push up the base clock and the boost clock accordingly.
- Memory Clock Offset: the slider will increase the memory clock speed, though it normally doesn't provide much gain.
Buttons (at least those you should pay attention to)
- Adjust Voltage: click on this button to access the slider controls that allows for over-volting of the card.
- Monitoring: this button will invoke the 'real-time' monitoring information in their graphical form.
- Performance Log: click this button to reveal the Properties tab that will allow the user to set different aspects of the card the user needs to keep track of.
- Frame Rate Target: click this button to reveal the slider to set a target FPS that the card should attempt to reach in order to achieve smoother gameplay. For games that can easily achieve the usually preferred 60fps target, setting the slider to this value would mean that the graphics card can function more efficiently by varying its clock speeds down (and saving power) to provide just the expected performance output.