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Test System And Benchmarks

Windows 8 Versus Windows 7: Game Performance, Benchmarked
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Testing for this article was performed on a high-end Sandy Bridge-E-based system at 4.2 GHz. We chose the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB and GeForce GTX 660 to represent performance from AMD and Nvidia.

Because Windows 7 and 8 employ the same graphics drivers, that variable remains constant between both operating systems. The only thing changing is the OS itself.

As an aside, we're testing AMD's new Catalyst 12.11 build for this comparison. The company claims significant performance increases from this version, so we're curious to see if it brings the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB any closer to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660.

Test System
CPU
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled, Overclocked to 4.2 GHz
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
Reference GeForce GTX 660
980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHz

XFX R7850 Core Edition, Radeon HD 7850 1GB
860 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHz

All overclocked cards reduced to reference specification for testing
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
Microsoft Windows 8 RTM x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
Nvidia: 306.97 WHQL
AMD: Catalyst 12.11 Beta
Benchmarks
Battlefield 3
Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps
Crysis 2
DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps
Batman: Arkham City
Version 1.0.0.0, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DiRT Showdown
Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11 Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Update 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps
Max Payne 3
Version 1.0.0.4.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps
World Of Warcraft
DX 11, Elwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps
Sleeping Dogs
High Detail Preset, Built-in Benchmark
Borderlands 2
Highest Settings, 8x AF, PhysX low, Fraps
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