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Inside the second: A new look at game benchmarking Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 09 September 2011 09:16

Discussion of the best and most relevant way to benchmark graphics boards in this day and age is nothing new - while some web sites have chosen a different path mostly out of self-righteous justification of why they're superior to their peers and others have stuck with frames per second as the most constant indicator or performance, is there a better way of doing things?  The Tech Report have spent rather a lot of time considering how we should be looking at gaming performance as it pertains to graphics cards.

GPU 1 is obviously the faster solution in most respects. Generally, its frame times are in the teens, and that would usually add up to an average of about 60 FPS. GPU 2 is slower, with frame times consistently around 30 milliseconds.

However, GPU 1 has a problem running this game. Let's say it's a texture upload problem caused by poor memory management in the video drivers, although it could be just about anything, including a hardware issue. The result of the problem is that GPU 1 gets stuck when attempting to render one of the frames—really stuck, to the tune of a nearly half-second delay. If you were playing a game on this card and ran into this issue, it would be a huge show-stopper. If it happened often, the game would be essentially unplayable.

The end result is that GPU 2 does a much better job of providing a consistent illusion of motion during the period of time in question. Yet look at how these two cards fare when we report these results in FPS:

Whoops. In traditional FPS terms, the performance of these two solutions during our span of time is nearly identical. The numbers tell us there's virtually no difference between them. Averaging our results over the span of a second has caused us to absorb and obscure a pretty major flaw in GPU 1's performance.

Check out their full analysis over here.

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