Test Setup And Benchmarks
Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti can't be expected to deliver ample performance beyond 1920x1080, and cards in this class aren't fast enough to accelerate the highest detail settings with anti-aliasing cranked up. So, we're running today's tests at high quality settings without anti-aliasing, and then again again with the feature turned on. In many cases, we're forced to drop the quality preset in order to realize playable frame rates with anti-aliasing turned on.
We're including Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 and 660 to evaluate the performance of Kepler-based cards on either side of the GTX 650 Ti in the company's line-up. We're also testing the GeForce GTX 460 192-bit, factoring in the capabilities of a previous-generation card. As a point of reference, our GeForce GTX 460 is very similar to a GeForce GTX 560 SE, in case you have one of those sitting around. A GeForce GTX 560 is in there, too, to represent the $170 card you could have purchased before Kepler-based boards started invading the same space.
AMD's Radeon HD 7770 stands in as the company's low-end contender. The Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 are previous-gen boards selling between $150 and $170. They're still available, and therefore still relevant to our analysis of which card to buy.
Finally, AMD recently introduced a 1 GB Radeon HD 7850, which sells for about $180. We've seen the card as low as $165 without rebates, though, so we're inclined to include it as potent competition in the same price range.
|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||Zotac GeForce GTX 650 Ti AMP! Edition1033 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1550 MHzGigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC1033 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1350 MHzReference GeForce GTX 650 Ti925 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1350 MHzReference GeForce GTX 660980/1033 MHz Base/Boost GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1502 MHzMSI GeForce GTX 560810 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1002 MHzZotac GeForce GTX 460 192-bit675 MHz GPU, 768 MB GDDR5 at 900 MHzGigabyte GeForce GTX 6501111 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1250 MHzEVGA R7850 Core Edition, Radeon HD 7850 1GB860 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1200 MHzReference Radeon HD 6870900 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1050 MHzReference Radeon HD 6850775 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1000 MHzReference Radeon HD 77701000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHzAll 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|
|Graphics Drivers||Nvidia: 306.38 betaAMD: Catalyst 12.9 Beta|
|Battlefield 3||Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordfish" 60-second Fraps|
|Crysis 2||DirectX 11, 60 second Fraps|
|Batman: Arkham City||Version 126.96.36.199, Built-in DirectX 11 Benchmark|
|Metro 2033||Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene|
|DiRT Showdown||Version 188.8.131.52, DirectX 11 Benchmark|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim||Update 1.4.27, THG Benchmarks save, 25-second Fraps|
|Max Payne 3||Version 184.108.40.206.7, Chapter 3, save 16, 65-second Fraps|
|World Of Warcraft||DX 11, Elwynn Forest area, 30-second Fraps|