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Covering The Bases

Tom's Hardware Graphics Charts: Performance In 2014

This last page includes some of the details that we don't want falling through the cracks.

Measuring Temperatures

For example, we’re measuring temperatures in a room with an ambient temperature of 22 degrees Celsius; it has a very good air conditioner that keeps up with this requirement easily. Twenty-two degrees strikes a good balance between an air-conditioned room in the summer and a heated space in the winter. Also, the room is large enough that even high-end configurations don't heat it up and affect the results.

Emulating Reference Graphics Cards

Vendors don’t always send us reference samples to review when a model launches. If the "new" board is old technology, rebranded, such as AMD's Radeon R7 265, we simply use the original card and adjust clock rates as necessary.

On the other hand, some products are never made available as a reference design, in which case we have to use a board partner's interpretation of the card set to reference frequencies. In those cases, we mark the chart entry with a (*) and leave out noise and temperature measurements.

Lower-End Graphics Cards

Some entry-level cards just cannot keep up with our benchmark settings, particularly at higher resolutions. We skip them with this happens. Again, I want to mention that we'll have a separate collection of charts for lower-end discrete boards and integrated graphics engines. The quality options will be re-calibrated with a lot less performance in mind. 

Nevertheless, mid-range cards are still important in the marketplace. So we fully intend to run them through our complete benchmark suite, while maintaining the quality of our measurements, refilling our charts section with precise benchmark results.

Charts like ours always represent a compromise between effort and depth, which is why we've forgone some blockbuster titles in favor of a more balanced mix of benchmarks. We think that we’ve succeeded in providing a good combination of game complexity, resolutions, and detail settings. Hopefully, this, in conjunction with our elaborate power consumption and noise data, allows to paint an objective picture of today's (and yesterday's) most popular graphics cards for you.

In The Weeks To Come...

Since we’d like to first and foremost provide a good overview of the current state of affairs, we’re starting with AMD’s and Nvidia’s current-gen reference card models. The next step is to include the prior generation still used by so many gamers. Finally, we’ll add board partner offerings from the past two years. 

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