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Test System And Benchmarks

External Graphics Over PCIe 3.0? Netstor's NA255A, Reviewed
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Our test system is built around Intel's X79 Express chipset, with 8 GT/s transfer rates to each 16-lane PCI Express graphics slot. We're going to measure the performance of native connectivity and the TurboBox using one, two, and three GPUs in each solution. This should tell us whether there's any penalty for externalizing graphics, or for interfacing with the enclosure over a single third-gen PCI Express x16 slot. Part of our testing also involves comparisons between PCIe 2.0 and 3.0, quantifying the benefits of modern technology versus what came before.

As mentioned, we're using three Radeon HD 7970s cards for testing, all of which are set to AMD's reference core and memory clock rates.

A number of games should help us flesh out 3D performance, while LuxMark and GUIMiner stand in as OpenCL-accelerated benchmarks. Although we know that the TurboBox isn't a gaming-oriented product, a few tests at 1920x1080 and 5760x1080 should shed some light on its performance potential.

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
3 x Radeon HD 7970
Hard Drive
Samsung 470-series 256 GB (SSD)
Power
ePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W
ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8
DirectX
DirectX 11.1
Graphics Drivers
Nvidia 310.70 beta
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