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Test System And Graphics Hardware

Guild Wars 2: Your Graphics Card And CPU Performance Guide
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We strive to represent game performance across a wide range of graphics hardware. Today, we're including cards ranging from the low-end Radeon HD 6450 and GeForce 210 to the powerful Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 670.

Gigabyte Radeon 6670 DDR3: GV-R667D3-1GI

Because Gigabyte sells a broad range of graphics cards up and down the product stacks of AMD and Nvidia, we chose to use the company's boards for testing. The first, which we consider ideal for gamers on a budget, is the Radeon HD 6670 DDR3. This is the minimum discrete card that we deem viable in Guild Wars 2. It's able to handle many titles at 1920x1080 or 1280x720.

Gigabyte's GV-R667D3-1GI comes equipped with 1 GB of fast-enough DDR3 memory and an aftermarket 100 mm cooler to keep noise low and temperatures down under load. Despite its entry-level billing, this Radeon HD 6670 board represents a good choice for upgrading a desktop PC without a big power supply, since it doesn't need an auxiliary input. The GV-R667D3-1GI draws all of the power it needs from a PCI Express slot.

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770 Overclocked: GV-R777OC-1GD

AMD's Radeon HD 7770 is a powerful sub-$150 piece of hardware, and Gigabyte's GV-R777OC-1GD takes it a step further with a 100 MHz core overclock (to 1100 MHz) and a 125 MHz memory overclock (to 1250 MHz). Like the GV-R667D3-1GI, a 100 mm fan keeps the card cool and quiet under load.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 Super Overclocked: GV-N580SO-15I

With an 855 MHz core and 1025 MHz memory, Gigabyte's GV-N580SO-15I is one of the fastest GeForce GTX 580s-based graphics cards available. Its Windforce 3x cooler delivers excellent thermal performance, helping ensure longevity and quiet operation under overclocked conditions.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Overclocked: GV-N670OC-2GD

The newest card in this story, GV-N670OC-2GD features Gigabyte's Windforce 3x cooler with what the company calls its Triangle Cool technology (a specialized inclined-fin design that Gigabyte claims lowers air turbulence and increases cooling efficiency). The card's 980 MHz base clock is overclocked by 65 MHz compared to Nvidia's reference spec, and it's rated for around 1058 MHz under GPU Boost.

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Overclocked: GV-R797OC-3GD

Gigabyte's GV-R797OC-3GD features a 1 GHz core clock (75 MHz over stock) and 3 GB of RAM. Like the company's specially-tuned GeForce GTX 670, a Windforce 3x cooler equipped with Triangle Cool technology offers better-than-reference acoustics and temperatures. That's particularly important on a Radeon HD 7970 board, since AMD's own cooler is so loud.

Testing Notes

Although many of these boards ship overclocked from Gigabyte, we configured them to run at their reference speeds in order to represent a greater majority of cards available on the market.

With no in-game benchmark tool available to test Guild Wars 2, we created our own sequence for measuring performance. We figured out that the game's Norn starting area was among the most taxing, probably as a result of its lush forest detail. Then, we ran the same pre-set path with Fraps running for 20 seconds. Our results are repeatable, and suffer very little variance.

Test System
CPU
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz @ 4.25 GHz , Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled.
Motherboard
ASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
Networking
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
Graphics
GeForce 210 1 GB DDR3
GeForce GT 440 512 MB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1 GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 460 192-bit 768 MB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 670 2 GB GDDR5

Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 6870 1 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5
Hard Drive
Samsung 470-series 256 GB (SSD)
Power
ePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W
ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
Catalyst 12.7 Beta, Nvidia 301.42 WHQL
Benchmarks
Guild Wars 2 Beta
Norn starting area, Fraps run
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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    tomfreak , August 27, 2012 6:05 AM
    Guild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.
  • 12 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:43 AM
    Interesting. The less-than-$100-without-external-power-connector Radeon 7750 is a balance card providing appealing visual while still runs good framerates at 1080p. I imagined if you tinker with the Best Appearance preset a little bit you can get better image quality without framerates dropping below 30. I mean let's face it, who plays on their PC without tinkering the settings here and there, that's just stupid.

    Great review as always! Really appreciate it
  • 11 Hide
    rdc85 , August 27, 2012 5:37 AM
    I'm wonder how my pII x4 955BE will perform, there none in the chart...

    Anyone know? at stock speed and at 3.8 O.C....
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    cmcghee358 , August 27, 2012 5:23 AM
    Hmm.. shame I can never touch an MMORPG ever again...
  • -8 Hide
    haplo602 , August 27, 2012 5:35 AM
    get your graphs and test setup to match:

    Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
    Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5

    where's the 6850 in the graphs ? There's a 6870 instead ...
  • 11 Hide
    rdc85 , August 27, 2012 5:37 AM
    I'm wonder how my pII x4 955BE will perform, there none in the chart...

    Anyone know? at stock speed and at 3.8 O.C....
  • 12 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:43 AM
    Interesting. The less-than-$100-without-external-power-connector Radeon 7750 is a balance card providing appealing visual while still runs good framerates at 1080p. I imagined if you tinker with the Best Appearance preset a little bit you can get better image quality without framerates dropping below 30. I mean let's face it, who plays on their PC without tinkering the settings here and there, that's just stupid.

    Great review as always! Really appreciate it
  • 2 Hide
    stingstang , August 27, 2012 5:46 AM
    I'm disappointed that this neglects the post processing bar when determining if the best appearance setting is enabled when taking in to account processing ability. I have an fx4100 and an hd 7950. How will that do at high grahhics settings?
    Duh, we want to know this stuff.
  • 3 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:49 AM
    Quote:
    get your graphs and test setup to match:

    Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
    Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5

    where's the 6850 in the graphs ? There's a 6870 instead ...


    Although it's probably a typo, there's probably no need to use the 6850 as well since the 7770 should perform similar
  • 0 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 5:54 AM
    Now I wonder where some people got the idea that GW2 was nvidia favored O_o
  • 3 Hide
    dormantreign , August 27, 2012 6:00 AM
    You gots me wanting to buy this game......
  • 5 Hide
    serhat359 , August 27, 2012 6:01 AM
    stingstangI'm disappointed that this neglects the post processing bar when determining if the best appearance setting is enabled when taking in to account processing ability. I have an fx4100 and an hd 7950. How will that do at high grahhics settings?Duh, we want to know this stuff.

    It will be cpu limited, you'll get around 35-40fps
  • 13 Hide
    tomfreak , August 27, 2012 6:05 AM
    Guild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.
  • 1 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:11 AM
    TomfreakGuild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.

    gpu wise, the gt version of the 7800 will perform about the same level as the 6450 in question. a low end core 2 duo will be on the lower end of the cpu chart.
  • 0 Hide
    burmese_dude , August 27, 2012 6:14 AM
    Playing mine on EVGA GTX 570 SC... everything runs smoothly. The game is absolutely great. I was a 50/50 member of GW1 and I was hoping GW2 wouldn't disappoint. GW2 truly delivers fun experience and entertainment without having to shell out 10 or 15 monthly. My gaming laptop with GT 650M with output to 1080p display to a TV also performed smoothly in medium setting. I haven't tried max setting though on that.

  • 2 Hide
    falchard , August 27, 2012 6:14 AM
    Ugh really hate developers who do that. Its not just low performance with the Bulldozer cores. Its almost purpostantial performance loss, or a big error in coding. Heard that sometimes with Bulldozer everything gets piled onto 1 core like the engine has no idea what to do with the architecture.
    Also DX9, are they serious? THIS IS 2012. DX10 is 6 years old. Get with it already and learn to code a game engine. Its not like this is a multi-platform game.
  • 6 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:25 AM
    burmese_dudePlaying mine on EVGA GTX 570 SC... everything runs smoothly. The game is absolutely great. I was a 50/50 member of GW1 and I was hoping GW2 wouldn't disappoint. GW2 truly delivers fun experience and entertainment without having to shell out 10 or 15 monthly. My gaming laptop with GT 650M with output to 1080p display to a TV also performed smoothly in medium setting. I haven't tried max setting though on that.


    the 650m will perform similarish to the 7750 in question

    falchardUgh really hate developers who do that. Its not just low performance with the Bulldozer cores. Its almost purpostantial performance loss, or a big error in coding. Heard that sometimes with Bulldozer everything gets piled onto 1 core like the engine has no idea what to do with the architecture.Also DX9, are they serious? THIS IS 2012. DX10 is 6 years old. Get with it already and learn to code a game engine. Its not like this is a multi-platform game.


    being dx9, it allows users who still use windows XP to play without someone creating a mod or use the directx hack to force xp to run it. I mean skyrim also runs on DX9
  • 8 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:32 AM
    amuffinA dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!

    Thats why I really hope that piledriver/steamroller pulls through.
  • 3 Hide
    amuffin , August 27, 2012 6:33 AM
    A dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!
  • 7 Hide
    Cryio , August 27, 2012 7:00 AM
    You tested the game only in DirectX 9. Where is DirectX10 and 11? Or aren't they implemented yet (post-release patch)?
  • 8 Hide
    Cryio , August 27, 2012 7:09 AM
    Quote:
    A dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!


    That really makes you wander, if games/programs really know to put Bulldozer to work. I think it just sits there, idling at least 50% of processor raw power.
  • 11 Hide
    alidan , August 27, 2012 7:12 AM
    i have a question...

    intel has moved on from their core2 line, and came out with higher preforming parts, amd has moved from athlon and phenom line to... a new architecture, i dont know if they match the old one yet or not.

    but when you are doing a cpu test on a game like this where its very scaleable, it would be nice to see the core 2 dual and quad, also a phenom dual tri and quad core (from what i understand athlon and phenom for most gaming scenarios are the same) because many of us have the old dual core, and quad core cpus, and dont feel the need to upgrade because its just not nessassary for normal computer use yet.
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