Mainstream PC, 2560x1440
Based on the previous page’s charts, we already know that far fewer of the graphics cards you’d pair with an old FX cut it at 2560x1440. That allows us to trim our test field to fit in one set of charts per quality preset.
Low Quality Preset
It appears we could have cut even more. Even at Low quality, the 2GB GeForce GTX 770 is overwhelmed by QHD. Everything else fares quite a bit better. The minimums we report are mostly registered at the beginning of the run where performance is consistently lower for each contender.
Compared to 1920x1080, where AMD’s Radeon RX 480 posted better results than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, the opposite is true at 2560x1440 (though the difference is imperceptible). Similarly, whereas the RX 470 previously bested Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970, QHD has both cards switching places.
Medium Quality Preset
Most of these cards maintain playable performance as we step up to the Medium preset; only Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 770 is completely stymied.
High Quality Preset
The Hawaii GPU’s ability to render 64 pixels per clock gives it a quantifiable advantage over Ellesmere’s 32 pixels per clock as we shift from Medium to High details. This allows the Radeon R9 390 to take a first-place finish ahead of the RX 480.
Both Radeons beat Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 though, which led using Low quality, fell one position under Medium, and drops to third in these charts. A narrower aggregate memory bus and less available bandwidth seem to hurt GP106 compared to the R9 390 (384 GB/s) and RX 480 (256 GB/s).
Our frame time over run chart helps illustrate the GTX 770’s plight. It also uncovers occasional spikes from the R9 280X. Perceived smoothness doesn’t appear to be affected, but that’s definitely not a behavior we see from the other contenders.
Ultra Quality Preset
Every card stumbles through the first few seconds of our benchmark with Ultra settings enabled, so the minimum frame rates aren’t representative of much other than a tumultuous intro. Based on what we've seen so far, this appears related to the 990FX platform's reduced I/O throughput compared to more modern platforms.
More interesting, perhaps, is that the ~$175 Radeon RX 470 ends this run pretty much tied with GeForce GTX 970, a card that debuted at $330 less than three years ago. Both cards are more or less playable with averages in the mid-40s and reasonable frame time distributions.
The question to answer as we move forward will be whether stepping up to a higher-end platform improves the gaming experience on a given card. Let’s set our FX-based machine aside, swap in the Core i7-6700K, and start back in at 1920x1080.
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