Single-Slot Graphics: Whose Card Is Fastest?

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) LGA 1155, 3.40 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz at 1.25 V, 40x Turbo Boost multiplier, EIST/C1E On
MotherboardAsus P8P67 Deluxe, BIOS 1502 (03/02/2011): Intel P67 Express, LGA 1155
RAMKingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX: 8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-27
Hard DriveSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia 270.61

AMD Catalyst 11.5
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1019


Keeping a graphics test honest requires the minimization of performance-hindering influences from the rest of the system. We started by overclocking our CPU to 4.0 GHz, then added Samsung’s super-fast SSD.

While older games often suffer from latencies higher than CAS 9 at DDR3-1600, those bottlenecks only occur during moderate graphics loads. The graphically-intense settings of today’s comparison shift the bottlenecks back towards our tested GPUs. Setting the baseline for “better than adequate” is Kingston’s 8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9 dual-channel kit.

Seasonic’s X760 power supply became a member of our standardized hardware set by offering excellent efficiency, modular cables, and a solid reputation for reliability. Today, its 80 PLUS Gold efficiency aids in a more accurate assessment of system power consumption.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: High Quality, 4x AA
F1 2010v1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle"
Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA, 16x AF
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA, 16x AF
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, Medium, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Medium, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version, all options, HDAO
Test Set 1: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, Ultra SSAO, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, Ultra SSAO, 4x MSAA
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
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    Top Comments
  • ta152h
    I'm not sure this needed so many pages to state the obvious (a 6850 board was faster than 440 and 450 boards, the concept is a good one. There are a lot of areas that sites do not cover that should be, and many of them are logistical like this one.

    For example, there are few, if any, reviews on noiseless CPUs (meaning, fanless) and too few if any reviews on GPUs without fans. Small form factors have thankfully been addressed a bit, but some of the smallest sizes are still not represented well in reviews.

    Even if you are into killing evil Zargons with your pimped out main computer (which many are not anyway), there is still a cool factor of a computer that fits in your hand that can be used in other locations like a kitchen, or living room, or both since you can pick it up and move it easily.

    Articles like this, that might not pertain to a main computer (or may), are interesting, since most of us have several computers, and know several people that ask our assistance in making decisions, and there are often criteria like this involved.
    26
  • Yuka
    You could have also included a standard reference board of the 6850 and GTS450 to see if there were any differences in power draw, heat, noise and why not, performance.

    Still, I also like the idea of reviewing different approaches of hardware pieces. We all have different needs, so different hardware (forms) need to be addressed as well 8)

    Cheers!
    21
  • dragonsqrrl
    I've read up to but not including the benchmark results, but is there honestly any question as to which card will perform best? The HD6850 is in a completely different performance segment. I'm just impressed they were able to get it down to a single slot form factor.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • ta152h
    I'm not sure this needed so many pages to state the obvious (a 6850 board was faster than 440 and 450 boards, the concept is a good one. There are a lot of areas that sites do not cover that should be, and many of them are logistical like this one.

    For example, there are few, if any, reviews on noiseless CPUs (meaning, fanless) and too few if any reviews on GPUs without fans. Small form factors have thankfully been addressed a bit, but some of the smallest sizes are still not represented well in reviews.

    Even if you are into killing evil Zargons with your pimped out main computer (which many are not anyway), there is still a cool factor of a computer that fits in your hand that can be used in other locations like a kitchen, or living room, or both since you can pick it up and move it easily.

    Articles like this, that might not pertain to a main computer (or may), are interesting, since most of us have several computers, and know several people that ask our assistance in making decisions, and there are often criteria like this involved.
    26
  • dragonsqrrl
    I've read up to but not including the benchmark results, but is there honestly any question as to which card will perform best? The HD6850 is in a completely different performance segment. I'm just impressed they were able to get it down to a single slot form factor.
    12
  • eklipz330
    wonderful idea for an article, for those who have cramped areas
    4
  • Yuka
    You could have also included a standard reference board of the 6850 and GTS450 to see if there were any differences in power draw, heat, noise and why not, performance.

    Still, I also like the idea of reviewing different approaches of hardware pieces. We all have different needs, so different hardware (forms) need to be addressed as well 8)

    Cheers!
    21
  • Crashman
    dragonsqrrlI've read up to but not including the benchmark results, but is there honestly any question as to which card will perform best? The HD6850 is in a completely different performance segment. I'm just impressed they were able to get it down to a single slot form factor.
    Afox wanted to present this to prove its solution viable. Lots of people thought it wouldn't work due to the missing 6-pin connector and tiny fan. A couple weeks after Afox released its card, PowerColor announced a single-slot version WITH the 6-pin connector so now you have three choices: Galaxy's 460, Afox's 6850, and PowerColor's 6850.

    The Tom's Hardware team put a lot of effort into getting as many companies onboard as possible for this. PowerColor should have been excluded since its product was actually too late to meet the test deadline, but that's a non-issue since the card didn't show up. And Galaxy, Galaxy Where Art Thou? You would think companies like that would be in touch with ALL the major sites, wouldn't you?
    7
  • mister g
    I was looking into these cards because I have a BTX case from Dell, Crashman just listed all the cards I was looking at except for the Afox. However I'm not likely to get any of these since the single slot comes with one big con, a price tag of at least $220.
    -1
  • jadavis1992
    Where is the Galaxy GTX 460 razor?
    1
  • dragonsqrrl
    CrashmanThe Tom's Hardware team put a lot of effort into getting as many companies onboard as possible for this. PowerColor should have been excluded since its product was actually too late to meet the test deadline, but that's a non-issue since the card didn't show up. And Galaxy, Galaxy Where Art Thou? You would think companies like that would be in touch with ALL the major sites, wouldn't you?

    I wasn't questioning the work ethic of Tom's Hardware's authors and reviewers, you guy's almost always deliver high-quality review material. But thanks for clarifying the situation.

    I really don't know what I would think, I'm completely unfamiliar with the process of acquiring test hardware from companies. Is this really unusual behavior from Galaxy and Power Color (ignoring or passing up a request to review one of their new products)?
    1
  • Assmar
    Cool. where can I get 4?
    -2
  • Crashman
    dragonsqrrlI wasn't questioning the work ethic of Tom's Hardware's authors and reviewers, you guy's almost always deliver high-quality review material. But thanks for clarifying the situation.I really don't know what I would think, I'm completely unfamiliar with the process of acquiring test hardware from companies. Is this really unusual behavior from Galaxy and Power Color (ignoring or passing up a request to review one of their new products)?
    I believe the OTHER companies simply didn't want to get "shown up" by the bigger card, where ECS and MSI sent a card they knew would lose the performance race in order to show off their lower power consumption and price.

    As for PowerColor, they said they sent one. Either they screwed up, or something happened to the card along the way. Either way, I wasn't going to worry about the cause of this conundrum since it was too late to deal with.

    I really don't know what's up with Galaxy. Chances are they might have simply cut their marketing department.
    0
  • hmp_goose
    Bought the MSI a few weeks ago, to replace a buzzzie nVidia GT220 from Zotac. The sound is not nearly as bad, but I guess that "woosh" sound isn't really quite …

    It drives a pair of 1080x1920 Samsungs. But they aren't the screes I game on. It does render .pdf a hell'of'a lot faster…

    Glad I picked the better of the two nVidias!
    -5
  • dormantreign
    Clearly can tell you guys were pissed at not receiving the other card samples :P
    3
  • Kaboose
    On the Page
    Benchmark Results: F1 2010
    Noticed a typo on the F1 2010 1080 chart.
    Resolution is listed as 1800 not 1080
    0
  • neiroatopelcc
    Crashie in articleWhile older games often suffer from latencies higher than CAS 9 at DDR3-1600, those bottlenecks only occur during moderate graphics loads.


    Do you have a link to an article or something with regards to this? I've not heard of latency induced performance bottlenecks in recent years (then again I'm running C7 parts)
    -1
  • Luscious
    You could get dual-slot cards like the GTX580 to fit with a water-block. The only issue is most water blocks are again a 2 or 3 slot solution once you add SLI fittings. I'd love to build a SR-2 with seven GTX580 cards for a folding rig. Except the only thing holding a project like that back is finding a water block that offers practical connections for zero-slot spacing. Koolance/Swiftech/EKG are you listening?
    -2
  • Crashman
    neiroatopelccDo you have a link to an article or something with regards to this? I've not heard of latency induced performance bottlenecks in recent years (then again I'm running C7 parts)
    It's in one of the System Builder Marathon $2000 builds, where we picked the "legendary" Crucial RAM and got a new, sucky, high-density version instead. The new stuff was stuck at DDR3-1333 CAS 9, and Far Cry 2 suffered most by comparison to a previous system with the same graphics card.

    That sounds worthy of an article but it's not, because the Far Cry 2 settings that showed the huge performance difference were far lower than anyone would use with those graphics cards. We're talking about way more than 100 FPS for the "slow" system. In other words, it's not a realistic test scenario and should be ignored.
    1
  • fyasko
    the title should read, "whose card is fastest without killing your eardrums?"
    0
  • neiroatopelcc
    okay so the timing issue really isn't worth mentioning? Good. Explains why I haven't heard about it before.

    ps. usually only browse thru the smb articles to see if I agree with your hardware picks - mostly don't bother reading the blah blah surrounding it.
    -3
  • iam2thecrowe
    id like to start seeing Witcher 2 used as a benchmark.
    3