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 Intel, ASRock, and Crucial for providing vital components in this test bench, without which this report would not be possible. Check out our review of the Intel Core i7 5960X, ASRock X99 OC Formula, and the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 memory kit, used in this report.
|PC CHASSIS:||Thermaltake Core V51|
|MOTHERBOARD:||ASRock X99 OC Formula|
|CPU:||Intel Core i7 5960X @ 4.4GHZ OC|
|MEMORY:||16GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666|
|CPU COOLER:||Noctua NH-D15|
|POWER SUPPLY:||Corsair TX850 v2|
|STORAGE:||ADATA 1TB Premiere Pro SSD|
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.
OVERCLOCKING AND COOLING PERFORMANCE
As XFX does not provide their own GPU tuning utilities at present, we’ll be using MSI’s Afterburner, which is a modified version of RivaTuner, and is arguably one of the best utilities for the job.
After some minor tweaking, we found we could get our GPU overclocked to 1175MHz on the Core Clock (up 933MHz stock), and 1375MHz on the Memory Clock (up from 1250MHz), which translates to a total memory speed of 5.5GHz, or an increase of 500MHz over stock. This gives us a total increase of 26% on the Core Clock, and 10% on the Memory Clock, however whether or not this increase is represented in equal actual performance gains remains to be seen.
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. While all tests were done, our Ambient Temperature was approximately 25C, with our Intake Air Temperature floating just above that at around 27C. We let the Burn-In Test run fully for 30 minutes before recording our final temperature results.
At stock we can see the card’s cooling is able to keep the GPU to very comfortable temps, and actually performs better than we’d expected. While overclocked we do see a significant increase in temperature, however it is still well within reason, and definitely not a concern. It is worth noting that idle temperatures for the card are also rather low, averaging around 35C.
3DMARK ADVANCED FIRESTRIKE
3DMark is Futuremark’s latest in computer benchmarking. It includes tests for different performance levels, but we’re really only interested in the Fire Strike tests, which are for gaming PCs.
3DMark Fire Strike runs a series of 4 tests:
Graphics Test 1 – This test relies heavily on tessellation and volumetric illumination. Tessellation is breaking down polygons into simpler shapes (usually triangles), to create greater object detail. Volumetric Illumination adds lighting effects to a rendered scene allowing the viewer to see beams of light through the environment. For example, sunbeams streaming through an object like a tree or a window.
Graphics Test 2 – The second test includes complex, real-time realistic smoke simulation, which relies on particle illumination and GPU shaders to determine how visible particles of smoke or fog should be.
Physics Test – This third test involves rigid and soft body physics calculations on the CPU. These tests are not relevant for GPU comparison, so will be omitted.
Combined Test – The last test is a combines elements of previous tests, such as doing tessellation, illumination, smoke simulation, particles and post processing effects on the GPU while the CPU does 32 parallel physics simulations at the same time.
Here we can see that we don’t seem to be getting a significant performance improvement with our overclock, for what ever reason. Hopefully this isn’t a trend that continues with the rest of our tests.