Gaming Graphics Charts For 2009: Updated!

We began our testing for this year's updated charts with the newest and fastest graphics cards available from ATI and Nvidia. Right now, you can compare 32 retail products and graphics chip classes to one another; detailed performance results are available from 30 different gaming benchmark environments.

From here on out, the graphics charts will be updated on a monthly basis as we introduce additional cards (reference and retail) at every price point. All our benchmarks here are new, whether you're looking at the Mainstream or High-End categories.

To provide the best possible performance picture, all of the graphics products are measured first at their standard clock rates. This year we aren't restricting these charts to reference models: you'll find commercially-available products, special editions, and overclocked versions from all the well-known vendors for comparison, too.

This is how Tom’s Hardware tracks the graphics card market closely and carefully, where vendors are always changing clock rates, cooling solutions, and various other design details so that they can improve upon the performance available from basic reference cards.

Our new Benchmark Suite includes another large collection of different games and 3D engines. Our goal is to represent a broad mix of real-time strategy, simulation, role-playing, and FPS games in these results. For some time now, state-of-the-art graphic cards have offered enough performance for fluid game play on most monitors, even at resolutions up to 1920x1200 (a bit higher than  standard HD resolution). That’s why we’ve raised the bar in this year’s charts for our test resolutions: High-End now starts at 1680x1050 resolution with anti-aliasing (AA) enabled. That’s because lower resolutions run smoothly across the board, and are more likely to be limited by CPU (rather than GPU) performance.

At a resolution of 1920x1200, the biggest differences become visible, so we feature three different test variations for this case. First, there's a test with anti-aliasing turned off (so that we can record the most playable frame rates). We also test with 4xAA to improve image quality somewhat (and to better tax the more powerful graphics cards). Finally, we test with 8xAA to most accurately distinguish between otherwise-subtle differences in clock speeds, graphics chip classes, and frame buffers on high-end cards.

Benchmark Suite 2009
DirectX
Standard
Quality
8xAA
3D Engine
Fallout 3
DX9
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF
8xAA+15xAF
Gamebryo (Oblivion)
Far Cry 2
DX10
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF8xAA+16xAF
Dunia Engine
F.E.A.R 2
DX10
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF
LithTech Jupiter Extended (EX)
Left 4 Dead
DX9
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF8xAA+16xAF
Source Engine (Halflife 2)
The Last Remnant
DX10
0xAA+4xAF
0xAA+4xAF

Unreal 3
Tom Clancy's Endwar
DX10
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF
Unreal 3.1
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X
DX10
0xAA+0xAF
4xAA+8xAF
Ubisoft Bukarest (Blazing Angels)
3DMark06 v1.1.0
DX9
1280x1024
Default
Default
Futuremark
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83 comments
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    Top Comments
  • avatar_raq
    Nice charts. But I disagree on some games choices..Two unreal engine gamess?!! And -admittedly- one of them has a FPS cap !!..No demanding games as GTA IV or crysis?!! Should have included one of them at least.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • scook9
    bout dam time. but thanks, I had been waiting for this. Makes me feel better about the pair of GTX 275's about to go into my system.
    -3
  • dmv915
    Sweet new charts
    2
  • Ogdin
    Good stuff as usual,nice to the the more in depth high resolution tests.
    1
  • dmv915
    I would like to see an oc'd gtx 260 on the charts sometime soon. Most of the oc'd cards have fallen in price below stock 4870 1 gig. I'd like to see how it compares.
    0
  • doomtomb
    Finally, they did it!
    1
  • doomtomb
    But wait, no Crysis or Warhead? Why?
    8
  • mike989
    I think this review is broken, i cannot get past "here's what we tested" there is no more links.
    0
  • xizel
    same here... about what mike989 said
    -1
  • pulasky
    As usual very very very fishy tests.
    5
  • baracubra
    FINALLY!!!! I've been waiting for this for sooo long, Its been long overdue, but thx Tino and the crue, once again you re-grabed my attention and proved its worth visiting Toms!!!! :D
    -1
  • baracubra
    doomtombBut wait, no Crysis or Warhead? Why?


    Yeah, I'd would be nice if these were added, as Crysis is still one of the most taxing games...
    7
  • JeanLuc
    I'm surprised the ATI cards fell behind in HAWX which is a game sponsored by AMD. And no Warhead or Crysis? I know Crysis is getting a old now but barring STALKER CLear Sky there isn't another game out there that pushes current hardware as hard as Crysis does. In fact my next video card is based on how well it can handle Crysis at 1920x1200 so I'm a bit disappointed to not see it's inclusion but I guess we have to move on at some point.

    Overall good work, these charts are dead handy for quickly referencing a video cards potential.
    5
  • baracubra
    These charts are great, but in the future if you guys have time, are SLI and Crossfire solutions going to be included in these results?
    5
  • cangelini
    mike989I think this review is broken, i cannot get past "here's what we tested" there is no more links.


    Mike,

    That's the end of the piece--it's only a four-pager to introduce the new charts. I put up a second story for today to make up for this one being so brief.
    3
  • cangelini
    gellertThese charts are great, but in the future if you guys have time, are SLI and Crossfire solutions going to be included in these results?


    Gell,

    I do believe SLI and CrossFire will be added in a separate update.
    4
  • avatar_raq
    Nice charts. But I disagree on some games choices..Two unreal engine gamess?!! And -admittedly- one of them has a FPS cap !!..No demanding games as GTA IV or crysis?!! Should have included one of them at least.
    10
  • bige420
    It would be helpful for say, CF results for 4890's, 4770's and whatnot. NEED CPU CHARTS!!!
    1
  • cangelini
    avatar_raqNice charts. But I disagree on some games choices..Two unreal engine gamess?!! And -admittedly- one of them has a FPS cap !!..No demanding games as GTA IV or crysis?!! Should have included one of them at least.


    Avatar--I'll continue including GTA 4 in my standalone reviews for folks who still want to see numbers with this one.
    1
  • rags_20
    Finally. What took you guys so long?
    5
  • rags_20
    And please, also post a Vantage Performance preset score! We want benchies that fully use DX10.
    5