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Meet The 2012 Graphics Charts: How We're Testing This Year

GPGPU Benchmarks

Introduction to the GPGPU Benchmarks

Now that OpenCL is established as a multi-platform GPU-computing API, it's relatively simple to benchmark general-purpose GPU application performance, as long as the applications are truly platform agnostic. Previously, when the GPGPU universe was divided into CUDA (Nvidia) and Stream (AMD), we faced the problem that most applications supported only one of the two environments, and could thus not be directly compared to each other.

Bitcoin Mining

Apart from synthetic benchmarks, Bitcoin mining is one of the few practically useful, albeit somewhat narrowly focused, examples for GPU computing. A problem of using Bitcoin mining as a benchmark is that the existing OpenCL miner will typically not support a new graphics card generation upon release. Thus, we have to keep updating the OpenCL miner and benchmark results.


LuxMark is the second practical GPGPU application in our benchmark suite. It's based on the free render program LuxRender. A second version of this benchmark is now available, but we still use the well-known scene LuxBall HDR; we want to test a broad range of graphics cards, and this scene is the least-complex one. The other two test scenes are too difficult for entry-level cards. Since we want you to be able to compare the GPGPU scores of graphics cards with the GPGPU scores achieved by APUs and IGPs, we don’t plan to replace this popular scene with another one until after 2012 at the earliest.

GPU Caps Viewer

GPU Caps Viewer is a synthetic benchmark with an interesting mix of computation done via OpenCL and post-processing and graphical output with or without anti-aliasing. The PostFX test is a variant of the Nvidia demo for the API call oclPostprocessGL in the company's GPU Computing SDK, where a blur effect is added in a post-processing step after the image has been rendered.

The particle test is traditionally one of Nvidia's strengths. However, AMD’s new GCN architecture is catching up.

N Queens

The so-called N Queens Problem has nothing to do with Freddy Mercury; it's a complex mathematical chess problem. Eight queens need to be positioned on a chess board in such a way that none of them could take another one according to chess rules (but disregarding black and white). The goal is to obtain the full solution set in the minimum time.

  • johnny_utah
    While I love the new techniques, using BITCOIN to bench GPUGPU performance instead of Folding @ Home? Um, okay.
  • Still with the bar charts? Would *love* to see scatter plots with price/score on the axes... So much more useful in picking out a card.
  • AznCracker
    Man the charts are dying to be updated. Too bad it isn't done more often since it takes a lot of work.
  • You havent added how many cheese wheels it can run in skyrim as a benchmark... wth?
  • DjEaZy
    ... i like the pile of card's @ the end of the article.... a beautiful pile...
  • pharoahhalfdead
    johnny_utahWhile I love the new techniques, using BITCOIN to bench GPUGPU performance instead of Folding @ Home? Um, okay.
    I agree. I know Tom's spends a lot of time benchmarking, but Folding@home is something that is a bit more common. I would love to see F@H in some articles.

    BTW, I appreciate all the work you guys do.
  • randomkid
    Where's the 5760x1080? In the area where I come from, 3x 1920x1080p 22" monitor cost around the same or even less than a single 2560x1440/1600 27" monitor so this is a more likely configuration among gamers.

    The 5760x1080 resolution will also push the GPU's harder than a 2560x1440/1600 could so why limit the resolution there?
  • We'll add up to 20 new boards each month until the lower end of the performance range is filled out, too.
    How far back in GPU generations are you going to test, if at all? I saw the power consumption charts and could only see GTX 500, 600 and Radeon 6000, 7000 series. I have an EVGA GTX 480 SC for two years and do like to know how it compares to the newer series of GPUs. Much appreciated.
  • Yargnit
    MMO FanYup no surprise here typical Nvidia benchmark suite fuck sakes.
    So what would YOU like to see used then? If they were trying to push Nvidia wouldn't Hawx 2 be in the suite?
  • shinym
    For Starcraft II you say "This game doesn't stress the CPU, and is thus well-suited for GPU benchmarking." Looks like you got CPU and GPU mixed up there.