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Hardware Config And Test Settings

Amazing SLI Scaling: Do Two GeForce GTX 460s Beat One GTX 480?
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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-980X (3.33 GHz, 12 MB Shared L3 Cache)
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz at +100mV, 160 MHz BCLK
MotherboardGigabyte X58A-UD9 BIOS F3 (05/28/2010), Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366
RAMKingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX (6 GB)
DDR3-2000 at DDR3-1600 CAS 7-7-7-21
GTX 460 GraphicsSparkle GeForce GTX 460 1 GB (x2 for SLI)
700 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3600
GTX 480 GraphicsSparkle GeForce GTX 480 1.5 GB
700 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3696
Radeon GraphicsDiamond Radeon HD 5870 1 GB
850 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4800
OS Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB
10,000 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000 1,000 W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
GeForce GraphicsForceWare 258.96
Radeon GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.6
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1020


Sparkle
was kind enough to supply one GeForce GTX 480 and two GeForce GTX 460 graphics cards. Each card includes a mini-HDMI to standard HDMI data cable, a DVI-I to VGA adapter, driver CD with various freeware, installation guide, and two power adapter cables.

Support for up to seven graphics cards makes the X58A-UD9 this reviewer’s choice for multi-card graphics tests. Less expensive X58-based solutions would have also been adequate for two-way SLI testing, since the chipset supports two x16 cards at full bandwidth.

We brought back Intel’s Core i7-980X to satisfy popular demand, even though none of today’s games can properly access more than four CPU threads. SLI does allow some games to push a few CPU cores to their limit however, so we overclocked ours to 4.00 GHz.

Diamond’s Radeon HD 5870 provides a second reference point for anyone who would like to compare Don Woligroski’s comprehensive CrossFire analysis to today’s limited SLI tests.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Aliens Vs. Predator BenchmarkAlien vs Predator Benchmark Tool
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: Highest Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Quality, 4x AA
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x MSAA
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
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