Performance And Summary
As discussed, the only way to generate objective measurements is with a warmed-up card in a closed case, replicating the environmental conditions and clock rates gamers in the real world experience. Anything else is overly optimistic and subject to variance as test subjects heat up. We talk more about performance testing in PresentMon: Performance in DirectX, OpenGL, and Vulkan.
In addition to tools like FCAT, we have a tool we developed based on PresentMon. To save time, it allows us to store commonly-used games with corresponding profiles that only need to be created once, but can be edited any time. The profiles control PresentMon's many parameters when a stored application is detected.
We also have a configurable hot-key system for PresentMon, which makes it possible to start a test, control recording time and preferences, and manually exit PresentMon, all without leaving the game. A friendly voice pipes up to let us know when a desired action is successful, or whether it failed. In principle, the software works a lot like AMD's OCAT.
All the recorded data amounts to a huge pile of binary information that needs to be processed. To do this, we use another in-house tool that combines log files and performs calculations that'd be nearly impossible to manage through Excel.
The third generation of our log file interpreter smokes through these calculations almost instantly, and even allows us to build new analysis methods when they're necessary.
While our measurements are easier to collect, more applicable, and completely objective, it was the close cooperation with Lian Li that helped move this project forward. The closed case gave us the platform we've been needing, and that readers have been asking for, to facilitate more realistic reviews.
What use are benchmark results from a card fed fresh air when it behaves differently in the confines of a much warmer case? As an added benefit, measurements collected from inside a closed case help separate the wheat from the chaff; they help uncover the weaknesses we've seen poorly-designed graphics cards suffer from in the past. In the end, this all serves to help our readers make more informed buying decisions.
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