👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅10-02-16
Test Setup & Methodology

How we test graphics cards

Testing a graphics card is an extremely lengthy process. We sometimes see reviews where a graphics card has been tested using out of date equipment, out of date games and even out of date drivers. While the latter can be excused due to the sheer amount of driver updates making a thorough review impossible we will however notify the reader when we have used a different driver to the normal for example a pre-release driver. For the most part however we will always use the same hardware and latest drivers so this does certainly need to be taken into consideration when viewing our testing results. Each game and benchmark is tested times with the lowest and highest scores omitted out of the 5 results and the average then taken from the three remaining to give us our final result for each resolution and setting used.


With the latest Intel chipset release we decided to update our ageing X79 setup to the very latest X99 chipset. Not only that but we will be using the flagship Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition processor clocked to a realistic, achievable 4GHz to ensure we have no CPU bottlenecks. With 16GB (4x4GB) of GDDR4 at 2666MHz and a 500GB SSD there should be minimal paging so the benchmarks we run today will hopefully give a true reflection of the graphics card's performance.

High End Graphics Cards on test:
GIGABYTE GTX 980Ti XTREME GAMING (Forceware 361.75)
GIGABYTE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING (Forceware 361.75)

GIGABYTE GTX 970 XTREME GAMING (Forceware 361.43)
ASUS MATRIX GTX 980Ti PLATINUM (Forceware 358.91)
ASUS STRIX GTX 980Ti DC3 OC (Forceware 353.30)
SAPPHIRE R9 Fury X (Catalyst 15.15)
XFX R9 390X Double Dissipation (Catalyst 15.15)
MSI R9 390X GAMING 8G (Catalyst 15.15)
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti 6GB (Forceware 352.90)
ZOTAC GTX 970 AMP! EXTREME CORE(Forceware 344.75)
ZOTAC GTX 970 AMP! EXTREME(Forceware 344.75)
MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G(Forceware 344.75)
GIGABYTE G1 GAMING SOC GTX 970(Forceware 344.75)
ASUS STRIX GTX 970 4GB GDDR5(Forceware 340.60)
NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB GDDR5(Forceware 340.52)
SAPPHIRE TRI-X R9-290X 4GB GDDR5(Catalyst 14.3)

Special thanks go to Intel, Corsair, MSI and AOC for providing the extreme spec components used for our test bench:

If you are a regular reader of our reviews you will know we like to test the latest hardware with the latest games and benchmarks on the market. Here are the games we have chosen:

Battlefield 4
Company of Heroes 2
Metro: Last Light

We also take into consideration the benchmarkers out there so have included three of the more popular synthetic benchmarks available:
Unigine: Valley
Unigine: Heaven 4
Futuremark 3DMark Firestrike

Let's see how today's graphics card performed...

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