GPU Reviews: Why Frame Time Analysis is important

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅01-04-13

Using Frame Time Analysis as a means of measuring GPU performance is clearly a valuable tool. So much so that some would say it should replace the frames per second method of measuring performance. We would tend to agree because as previously stated, it is little point in having a GPU that can produce stupidly high framerates if the end product results in choppy gameplay. For gamers, frame time latency is clearly the better measurement as it is what 'gaming experience can be measured upon'.

Frame time latency, as we have already discussed, can be measured in numerous ways, with a variety of equipment and software. There are arguments for and against the use of Fraps as a means measuring frame time latency. Others suggest the only true way to measure is by the use of specialised hardware. What we can all agree on though is that some measurement is better than none at all. With this in mind, we plan on incorporating frametime analysis into our future reviews and will use FRAPS as a collating tool, not least because the results can be replicated and thus verified for the most part by the reader at home.

We do however also believe that frames per second as a form of measurement still has its uses. If two graphics cards are equally matched in frame time rendering then how else do we separate the performance? Sure, a frametime graph can show you which is the faster card simply by it's length and thus the number of frames rendered over a given period but to get an accurate figure you would also have to calculate this yourself to gain an accurate, by the second average FPS figure. It's no good saying an entry level card has excellent frame time latency and then comparing it to a much faster (FPS) card which has a slower latency. IF both cards are below your own perceived level then you would obviously go with the faster card.

At Vortez, we want to give the reader the choice of what they want to see. Some folk will inevitably be confused by the frametime measurements and so rather than making the switch fulltime to frame time latency, we will also continue to use frames per second as a means of measuring GPU performance, if nothing else but to satisfy the benchmarkers out there who hang on raw FPS figures for their HWBOT positioning. Clearly, we are a crossroads in GPU analysis so rather than walking blindly down one road and asking our readers to follow, we will just give you a map and you can make the decision yourself!

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. While it is certainly not as complex or in-depth as the excellent article written by Scott Wasson over at The Tech Report, it will hopefully give you an insight into frame time latency, its importance and why we will be using it to measure graphics card testing in the future.

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