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Test System And Settings

StarCraft II Revisited: How Much Gaming PC Do You Need?

StarCraft II is very attractive at its Medium graphics quality setting, yet it is a lot easier on the hardware than the Ultra quality setting. Therefore, we’re testing the same Medium and Ultra quality settings that we used in our previous StarCraft II beta performance analysis.

The AMD Catalyst 10.7 beta drivers (and newer 10.8 package) allow us to test AA on Radeon cards. Nvidia's drivers have supported this capability from launch day. However, we limit AA tests to the graphics cards that can supply playable frame rates at Ultra quality settings.

While some of the Gigabyte graphics cards employ a factory overclock, we're setting all of the cards to their reference clock speeds in order to provide a more useful comparison for the folks gauging standard performance.

Graphic Test System
Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache
Overclocked to 3.06 GHz @ 153 MHz BCLK
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58, BIOS version FA
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Kingston PC3-10700
3 x 1,024  MB, DDR3-1225, CL 9-9-9-22-1T
Gigabyte GV-R587SO-1GD
Radeon HD 5870 Super Overclock 1 GB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-N470SO-13I
GeForce GTX 470 Super Overclock 1280 MB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-R585OC-1GD
Radeon HD 5850 Overclock 1 GB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-N460OC-1GI
GeForce GTX 460 Overclock 1 GB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-R583UD-1GD
Radeon HD 5830 1 GB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-N240D5-512I
GeForce GT 240 512 MB GDDR5
Gigabyte GV-R557OC-1GI
Radeon HD 5570 1 GB DDR3 Overclock
Gigabyte GV-R555D3-1GI
Radeon HD 5550 1GB DDR3

(all clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking)
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 W
1200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 10.7 Beta
Nvidia GeForce Driver 258.96 WHQL
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