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Our new benchmark suite for graphics cards consists of two synthetic benchmarks as well as several real-world games based on DirectX generations 9, 10 and 11. Each benchmark is run in two different settings representing the “Gamer” and “Enthusiast” scenario. We also determine a reference point for each benchmark and each setting that represents full playability. Tallying up the results of these tests gives us two performance indexes that allow us to compare different cards to one another: the gamer index and the enthusiast index.
While a score of 100% on the gamer index represents the performance of current mid-range graphics cards, 100% on the enthusiast index denotes an absolute high-end card. This allows us to gauge any card’s performance according to both scales, and readers can see if a certain model fits their gaming needs. For example, a card with a gamer index of over 100% will run games smoothly at medium settings, while its enthusiast score of 80% means that it may not be able to handle a number of titles using the highest quality options. A score of 100% or more on the enthusiast index represents the very high end of gaming performance, while a gamer index of less than 100% places a card in the lower middle class, a segment that tries to balance sufficient performance with an acceptable price.
As a result of switching to this new method, we are no longer using cumulative frame rates at all. We tested cards belonging to the last three generations of products. Additionally, older DirectX 10 cards were only tested in benchmarks offering backward compatibility to that version of Microsoft’s API. These cards are included to serve as a frame of reference for the pace of development in the GPU sector.