The Test

Starting with today’s article we’ve made a small change to our suite of games. We are replacing our last 2012 game, Hitman: Absolution with another Square Enix title: the recently released Thief. Both games make use of many of the same graphical features, and both games include a built-in benchmark that is a good approximation of what a worst case rendering load in the game will behave like, making Thief a solid replacement for the older Hitman.

Meanwhile we’ve also updated all of our benchmark results to reflect the latest drivers from AMD and NVIDIA. For all AMD cards we are using AMD’s R9 295X2 launch drivers, Catalyst 14.4. Catalyst 14.4 appears to be a new branch of AMD’s drivers, given the version number 14.100, however we have found very few performance changes in our tests.

As for NVIDIA cards, we’re using the just-launched 337.50 drivers. These drivers contain a collection of performance improvements for NVIDIA cards and coincidentally come at just the right time for NVIDIA to counter AMD’s latest product launch.

We also need to quickly note that because AMD’s Radeon R9 295X2 uses an external 120mm radiator, we’ve had to modify our testbed to house the card. For our R9 295X2 tests we have pulled our testbed’s rear 140mm fan and replaced it with the R9 295X2 radiator. All other tests have the 140mm fan installed as normal.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4960X @ 4.2GHz
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200i
Hard Disk: Samsung SSD 840 EVO (750GB)
Memory: G.Skill RipjawZ DDR3-1866 4 x 8GB (9-10-9-26)
Case: NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition
Monitor: Asus PQ321
Video Cards: AMD Radeon R9 295X2
AMD Radeon R9 290X
AMD Radeon R9 290
AMD Radeon HD 7990
AMD Radeon HD 6990
NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Black
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
Video Drivers: NVIDIA Release 337.50 Beta
AMD Catalyst 14.4 Beta
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro


Revisiting the Radeon HD 7990 & Frame Pacing Metro: Last Light
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  • eotheod - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Same performance as crossfire 290X? Might be time to do a Mini-ITX build. Half the price of Titan Z also makes it a winner.
  • Torrijos - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    A lot of compute benchmark see no improvement from a single 290X...
    What is happening?
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Most of these compute benchmarks do not scale with multiple GPUs. We include them for completeness, if only to not so subtly point out that not everything scales well.
  • CiccioB - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Why not adding more real life computing tests like iRay that runs both for CUDA and OpenCL?
    Syntethic tests are really meaningless as they depends more on the particular istructions used to do... ermm.. nothing?
  • fourzeronine - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    iRay runs on CUDA only. LuxRender should be used for GPU raytrace benchmarking.

    Although the best renderers that support OpenCL are hybrid systems that only solve some of the problems on GPU and a card like this would never be fully utilized.

    The best OpenCL bench mark to have would be an agisoft photoscan dense point cloud generation.
  • Musaab - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    I have one question why didn't you use 2 R9 290X with water cool or 2 GTX 780Ti with water cool. I hate this marketing Mumbo Jumbo. if I want to pay this money I will chose two cards from above with water cool and with some OC work they will feed this card the dust and for the same money I can buy 2 R9 290 or 2 GTX 780.
  • Musaab - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Sorry I mean three R9290 or three GTX 780
  • spartaman64 - Sunday, June 1, 2014 - link

    i doubt you can afford 3 of them and water cool them and 3 of them would have a very high tdp also many people would run into space restraints and the r9 295x2 out performs 2 780 ti in sli
  • krutou - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Because water blocks and radiators don't grow on trees. Reviewers only test what they're given, all of which are stock.
  • patrickjp93 - Friday, May 2, 2014 - link

    They pretty much do grow on trees. You can get even a moderately good liquid cooling loop for 80 bucks.

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