New Testing Methodology

Every twelve to eighteen months it makes sense to upgrade our test beds in order to best represent what is available on the market. How the upgrade occurs depends on what is being tested, and in the case of our APU reviews it is clear that due to the wide range of graphics options available, as well as at different price points, that we have to adjust our gaming testing.

For 2015 our CPU performance testing regime remains untouched aside from the late 2014 addition of Linux-Bench for a glimpse into Linux based performance. On the gaming side, our games have been updated to the following:

  • Alien Isolation (First Person Survival-Horror)
  • Total War: Attila (Strategy)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (Open World Sandbox)
  • GRID: Autosport (Driving)
  • Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor (Action-Adventure)

Because budgets for gaming graphics cards can vary, or users decide to keep the same card for several generations, we will be testing each of these titles in both low, medium and high end graphics setups. This means we can see where the bottlenecks are for CPU performance at each stage. We have also been able to source both AMD and NVIDIA cards for most of these areas, should one side of the equation scale more than the other.

The GPU sections are split into three based on where they fit in their independent stacks rather than for direct competition:

Low-end:
 - Integrated Graphics
 - ASUS R7 240 2GB DDR3 ($70)
 - Dual Graphics (where applicable)

Mid-range:
 - MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245-$255 on eBay/Amazon, $330 new)
 - MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

High-end:
 - ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)
 - MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

On the low end, we have selected settings in order to make the current best integrated graphics solutions score between 45 and 60 frames per second. On the mid-range and high-end, we typically pull out 1080p maximum settings or almost-maximum.

The Shadows of Mordor (SoM) benchmark throws up a little interesting teaser as well due to the use of its Dynamic Super Resolution technique. This allows us to render at 3840x2160 (Ultra-HD, or ‘4K’) with our settings despite using a 1080p monitor. As a result, we also test SoM at 4K ultra with our mid-range and high-end graphics setups.

For the high-end setups, as we have managed to source 2 cards of each, means that where applicable we can test both SLI and Crossfire setups. We apply this to Shadows of Mordor at 4K as an extra data point.

For clarity, this means:

  Integrated
R7 240 2GB
Dual Graphics
GTX 770 2GB
R9 285 2GB
GTX 980 4GB
R9 290X 4GB
Alien Isolation 720p Ultra 1080p Ultra 1080p Ultra
Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate
Total War: Attila 720p Performance 1080p Quality 1080p Quality
Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate
Grand Theft Auto V 720p Low 1080p Very High 1080p Very High
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
GRID: Autosport 1080p Medium 1080p Ultra 1080p Ultra
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Middle-Earth:
Shadows of Mordor
720p Low
 
1080p Ultra
4K Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K Ultra
4K SLI/CFX
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate

For drivers, we locked down the 350.12 WHQL versions from NVIDIA soon after the launch of GTA V. Similarly, the 15.4 Beta drivers from AMD are also being used. These will remain consistent over the next 12-18 months until the next update.

All of our old (and new) benchmark data, both for CPU and graphics performance, can be found in our benchmark database, Bench.

We have a variety of benchmarks here, including legacy benchmarks such as CineBench 11.5 and TrueCrypt, which are not published in the main review. All CPUs/APUs that have been tested in our new 2015 style will be labeled in the dropdown menus by having its launch price listed, e.g. ’AMD A10-7850K (95W, $173)’. With any luck over the course of the next six months we will be adding new data and re-testing older processors for the database in order for our readers to compare old with new.

AMD A8-7650K Review AMD A8-7650K Test Setup, Overclocking
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177 Comments

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  • Sejong - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No comments. That just states AMD`s current position. Reply
  • bumble12 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Well, if you post a minute or two after the review goes live, what might you expect exactly? Reply
  • YuLeven - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I think you'll find that he said "no comments" as in "no comments about AMD's poor performance", not as in "there aren't comments on this review" pal. Reply
  • anandreader106 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    ....not sure if serious....or trolling.... Reply
  • DevilSlayerWizard - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I would prefer if AMD made a quad core Zen with ''atleast'' 1024 GCN cores, whatever memory subsystem needed to feed the chip including RAM and motherboard for less than 500$ in 2016. Pretty reasonable if you ask me. Reply
  • barleyguy - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    The PS4 processor, which AMD makes, is an R9-280 with an 8 core CPU. The problem is that it would be memory limited quite badly on a PC motherboard. In the PS4 it's paired with very fast memory.

    Possibly when AMD goes to DDR4 their APUs will start to shine, and they'll have the memory bandwidth to go wider on the GPU.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No, it's not. It is roughly between an R7 265 and R9 270 -- not anywhere near an R9 280. Reply
  • ravyne - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Its not a 280 -- Its got 20 GPU clusters only for 1280 shader lanes, two clusters are there for yield purposes and 4 more are dedicated to compute tasks. It has only 896 shaders dedicated to graphics, and and 256 for compute (though some engines leverage compute during rendering, so the line is a bit fuzzy). The PS4 has a 512bit memory bus, which is really wide for the GPU power, but its also feeding CPU compute. Its got 8 ACES like the 290/X.

    The 280 fully unlocked has 32 clusters for 2048 shaders. A 280/X has a 256bit GDDR5 bus, and only 2 ACES.

    What's in the PS4 is also custom-extended beyond any retail GPU, but the closest thing would be like a Hawaii (290/X) or Tonga (285), but cut down to 18 clusters.
    Reply
  • Revdarian - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    The ps4 doesn't have 256 shaders for compute only, it has 1280 shaders total and that is it, how you decide to divide the workload for your engine is up to you, what you are thinking of was totally taken out of the context of it being an example of how to use the tools provided to the developers. Reply
  • nikaldro - Saturday, May 16, 2015 - link

    Ps4 has 1152 Reply

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