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Test Setup And Benchmarks

GeForce GTX 690 Review: Testing Nvidia's Sexiest Graphics Card
Test Hardware
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz at 4.2 GHz (42 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Gigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) X79 Express Chipset, BIOS F10
G.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.5 V
Hard Drive
Intel SSDSC2MH250A2 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4 GB

 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 2 GB

2 x AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB

AMD Radeon HD 7950 3 GB

AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3 GB

Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
Power Supply
Cooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 301.33 (For GTX 690)

Nvidia GeForce Release 300.99 and 301.10 (For GTX 680)

Nvidia GeForce Release 296.10 (For GTX 580 and 590)

AMD Catalyst 12.2 (For HD 7950 and HD 6990)

AMD Catalyst 12.4 (For HD 7970)

As a rule, we do our testing with the latest drivers each time we start a new story. This ensures that any fixes or performance improvements introduced by a software update get reflected in our coverage.

This time around, however, we don't have that luxury. So, the GeForce GTX 690 is tested using Nvidia's new 301.33 build. From there, we spot-checked the GeForce GTX 680 on its own and in SLI using the public 301.10 release. Then, we did the same thing with AMD's Radeon HD 7970 in one- and two-card configurations using Catalyst 12.4.

Battlefield 3
Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, v-sync off, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, DirectX 11, Going Hunting, 90-second playback, Fraps
Crysis 2
DirectX 9 / DirectX 11, Ultra System Spec, v-sync off, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, No AA / No AF, Central Park, High-Resolution Textures: On
Metro 2033
High Quality Settings, AAA / 4x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, Built-in Benchmark, Depth of Field filter Disabled, Steam version
DiRT 3
Ultra High Settings, No AA / No AF, 8x AA / No AF, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, Steam version, Built-In Benchmark Sequence, DX 11
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
High Quality (8x AA / 8x AF) / Ultra Quality (8x AA, 16x AF) Settings, FXAA enabled, vsync off, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, 25-second playback, Fraps
3DMark 11
Version 1.03, Extreme Preset
Highest Quality Settings, 8x AA, 1920x1200, Retail Version, Built-in Benchmark, Tessellation on/off
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 8x AA / 16x AF, From Crushblow to The Krazzworks, 1920x1080 / 2560x1600 / 5760x1080, Fraps, DirectX 11 Rendering, x64 Client
SiSoftware Sandra 2012
Sandra Tech Support (Engineer) 2012.SP4, GP Processing and GP Bandwidth Modules
LuxMark 2.0
64-bit Binary, Version 1.0, Room Scene
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