The AVADirect Avatar starts our gaming benchmarks off strong with its hyperthreaded and overclocked Core i7-7700K giving it the slightest of edges over its direct competition, the Steiger Dynamics Era Reference. Although the Era has a slightly higher CPU overclock (100MHz higher) and an overclocked GPU, AVADirect’s focus on stability seems to pay off with better average framerates in Alien: Isolation at all tested resolutions.
Ashes of the Singularity
The Avatar trails the Era in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmarks by a small fraction (less than 1 FPS at each tested resolution), and the previously mentioned 100 MHz CPU clock and 80 MHz GPU memory clock advantages of the Era yield slightly higher average framerates than the Avatar. Hyperthreading seems to hold no bearing on the results, and the difference in performance between the two high-end custom shop gaming rigs can’t be distinguished with the human eye.
Bioshock Infinite assuredly favors hyperthreaded processors in a small way, with the Avatar coming out on top against the Era’s higher CPU and GPU memory overclock. The average framerate is capped by the CPU at 1920 x 1080, and despite the Era’s 100 MHz advantage (on a Core i5-7600K), the Avatar shines through with its Core i7 processor. The same can be said at 2560 x 1440 and 3840 x 2160, where the Avatar narrowly edges out the Era as the GPU becomes the bottleneck. At 4K, the difference in performance is indiscernible.
The Avatar is thrown a curve ball at 1920 x 1080 in the DiRT Rally benchmark, where it falls beneath the overclocked Era reference by a much higher margin than in previous games. We made sure that there weren’t any shifty things going on (background tasks, throttling) as we tested (and retested) this game at these settings, but it appears that overclocking barely helps the Avatar beat our Z270 reference rig at 1080p. However, moving up to 2560 x 1440 and 3840 x 2160 gives us results more in line with what we’ve seen from the previous games, with the Avatar coming out ahead of the Era Reference by a narrow margin.
Grand Theft Auto V
Hyperthreading again propels the Avatar to a first-place finish in the GTAV tests. Although the Era’s primary components are clocked higher, it only manages to best our test rig at stock CPU and GPU clock speeds, and the Avatar brandishes a healthy lead against its Core i5-equipped competition.
Similar to DiRT Rally (also developed by Codemasters), GRID Autosport isn’t favorable to the Avatar at 1920 x 1080. Although it easily bests our Z270 reference system, the Era’s higher-clocked CPU and GPU memory gives it a slightly higher average framerate over the Avatar. However, the Avatar has a better minimum framerate, signifying that hyperthreading may indeed help in some way after all.
This proves true as you turn up the resolution, with the Avatar regaining its first-place lead and besting the Era’s average framerate by over 5 FPS at 2560 x 1440 and 3840 x 2160. The Avatar’s minimum framerate is also significantly better than the Era at these resolutions. You’ll notice we did not include the 2016 Avatar in the 1080p results. We do not have that unit to re-test, and the results were far out of alignment with our expectations, so we excluded them in light of our in ability to test various hypothesis.
The Avatar leads the pack again in the Hitman DX12 benchmark, with the Era’s Core i5 unable to compete with the Core i7-equipped competition. The 2016 Avatar (with a GTX 1080) trails the Era by a small margin at 1920 x 1080 thanks to the gains its Core i7 and hyperthreading provides. The performance advantage of a Core i7 fades as you turn up the resolution, with the 2016 Avatar falling far behind the Era (as it should be) and the 2017 Avatar leading by a little less than 3 FPS at 2560 x 1440 and 3840 x 2160.
Metro: Last Light Redux
Metro: Last Light Redux is a great game to differentiate GPU performance, but we’re somewhat confused by the results. In the past, we’ve observed Founder’s Edition GPUs with the same clock rates performing nearly identically every time (usually within 1 FPS), with CPU frequencies holding little bearing on the end result. However, in the case of the Avatar, we see the stock-clocked Founder’s Edition GTX 1080 Ti not only best our Z270 test rig (with an identically clocked and cooled GPU), but it out-duels the overclocked Founder’s Edition GPU inside of Steiger Dynamic’s Era Reference. This is most apparent at 1920 x 1080, where the Avatar leads the pack in average framerate by 2.34 FPS. At 2560 x 1440, this lead is reduced to 0.33 FPS, and the Avatar and Era both averaged 30.67 FPS at 3840 x 2160. We saw no indication of throttling from either the Era or our test rig, but we theorize the Avatar was able to keep cooler (and therefore, more stable) and maintain its boost frequencies for longer periods of time, giving it a slight edge.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Hyperthreading proves advantageous again in Rise of the Tomb Raider, with the Avatar’s Core i7 processor propelling it ahead of its Core i5 and overclocked GTX 1080 Ti-equipped competition (the Era) at all tested resolutions. However, this lead would be difficult to see with your eyes, with an average framerate difference less than 1 FPS.
The Avatar falls down the ladder again in The Division, which favors GPU clock rate over CPU performance in its DX12 benchmark. As such, the stock-clocked GTX 1080 Ti in the Avatar falls significantly behind the Era’s moderately overclocked GPU at all tested resolutions. However, the Avatar still manages to best our reference Z270 rig, thanks to either the CPU overclock, GPU stability, or both.
As an older game, Thief generally doesn’t care if your CPU has hyperthreaded cores. All it wants for framerate glory is speed, and as such, the Avatar takes a second-place win at all tested resolutions, falling behind the Era’s slightly higher overclocked CPU and significantly faster GPU. The Avatar’s overclocked Core i7-7700K is able to push better average framerates than our Z270 reference system (with the same CPU and GPU, at default settings), but Steiger Dynamic’s moderately overclocked GPU and 100 MHz CPU clock advantage ensures higher average framerates than the Avatar in this particular game. I guess you can’t win them all.
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