DRIVER AND FREESYNC CONTINUED
Finally we have support for Crossfire in Freesync which was a feature that was a long time coming for AMD users and is quite exciting which leads us into our thoughts on Freesync
A good amount of our readers should already be aware of what Freesync is although for those not in the know we’ll quote AMD
TECHNOLOGY X TEST PROTOCOL
At Technology X, we test our GPUs slightly different depending upon the card’s marketed purpose, whether it be for high-end 4K or triple monitor gaming, or entry-level 1080p gaming on a single monitor. Our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, however, CPU C State alteration may or may not have occurred depending on the motherboard and BIOS configurations. Additionally, we also try to include links to the benchmarks used in our report so that you as the reader can replicate our tests to confirm that your cooler performs the way it should.
TECHNOLOGY X TEST BENCH
All of the components we use for testing are standard off-the-shelf PC components from major manufacturers, which can be purchased at a variety local retailers and online. We’ll also provide links to our components for those of you that find an interest in our equipment.
We’d like to thank Gigabyte, XFX, Kingston, and Phanteks for providing vital components in this test bench, without which this report would not be possible. Check out our review of the Gigabyte Z97X UD3H-BK and Kingston HyperX Savage
|Cooler Master HAF XM
|Gigabyte Z97 UD3H BK
|Intel i5 4690K
|Sapphire R9 380 Nitro 4GB
|Kingston HyperX Savage DDR3
|XFX XTR 1050W
|Samsung 830 256GB
|6 Phanteks case fans x4 200mm single 140mm single 120mm
When we test various PC hardware, we like to use benchmarks that are really available for you to download and test for yourself. In our analysis today we will be using 3DMark , and FurMark, while also measuring the performance of the card while running a variety of games. During the game we run FRAPS, which is a useful tool for measuring and logging the FPS (frames per second). We’ll also do some overclocking using MSI’s Afterburner software, and will validate our settings using FurMark for stability and thermal testing.
The games will be running include Crysis 3, Tomb Raider (2013), Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, and Assassins Creed Unity.
Although we’d love to compare this card to a GTX 960 since at $220 this cards only competitor is Nvidia’s aforementioned card, unfortunately we will be only testing this card by itself since using a GTX 970 or other higher end card just wouldn’t be fair.
OVERCLOCKING AND COOLING PERFORMANCE
We used MSI’s Afterburner, which is a modified version of RivaTuner, and is arguably one of the best utilities for the job. Although you can use Sapphire’s TRIXX Software.
After spending some time tweaking the card, we found the sweet spot was 1090MHz on the core clock (up from 985 MHz at stock) and 1550 MHz on the memory clock (up from 1450 MHz at stock, which translates to an effective speed of 6.2 GHz or a 400 MHz increase over stock. We got about 10% on both the core clock and just under 6% on the memory clock, so we definitely did not get a “Golden sample” and feel that most of our readers can grab very similar overclocks.
To test our GPU’s cooling and validate our overclock we use FurMark’s ‘Burn-In Test’ at 1080p. This is an incredibly strenuous benchmark and will top out our GPU’s thermal limits, allowing us to test its cooler’s capacity. We let the Burn-In Test run fully for 30 minutes before recording our final temperature results.
We noticed our card stayed relatively quiet during our Furmark tests showing it benefits from a solid thermal design as well as them spending extra in using dual ball bearing fans.
We also note temps don’t climb too much from our mild overclock.
3DMARK ADVANCED FIRESTRIKE
Lastly is Fire Strike, a graphics-intensive test that pushes your graphics card to the limit. It is highly not recommended to use this test on anything other than a dedicated graphics card. Fire Strike is incredibly graphics-intensive, and exhibits many advanced DirectX 11 features such as Tessellation and Ambient Occlusion, and features very high-resolution textures, as well as advanced particle and physics effects such as smoke and lava.
When overclocked we see our card get around an 8% performance boost which is to be expected.