Your Guide to the Hardware Canucks GPU Benchmarking Process

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     June 15, 2010

Your Guide to the Hardware Canucks GPU Benchmarking Process


In our GPU Benchmarking Methods Investigated article, we made the commitment to open up our GPU benchmarking process to the public. This is so users could see exactly which scenes we used for benchmarking, why we used them and could repeat the results (or a close approximation thereof) themselves. In this evolving article, we will do exactly as promised: show you the sequences we are using for benchmarking purposes

As we saw, there are countless ways to benchmark a game but some methods will lead to results that are much more representative of real-world gameplay than others. The goal of this process is to be as transparent as possible when it comes to our methodologies and why we have decided on certain courses of action when it comes to reviewing GPUs.

When we choose to add a game to our stable of benchmarkable titles, the first thing that’s done is a full play-through in order to determine what typical performance is like. With the help of FRAPS, a “worst case” scenario is derived from this playthrough which we will use for the basis of our benchmark run or to help determine if a built-in benchmark holds any foundation in reality. One important thing we should mention is that all benchmarks use at least one combat sequence if possible since it is within these where most games are the most demanding. Unfortunately, the randomness of combat means we have to repeat every benchmark three times in order to get an accurate picture of performance.

We only use built-in benchmarks if we have determined they are representative of an actual gameplay scenario and stand-alone benchmarks or demo versions of games are NEVER USED. This is because applications that operate outside of the actual final game engine will not have the developer-prescribed patches applied which could lead to relatively large performance shortfalls.

In the following pages, you will find videos of our benchmark sequences (if applicable) as well as save game files, timedemos, graphics setting screenshots and even guides to show you how to set everything up. This will also be a constantly evolving article since as new games are introduced, their benchmarking methods will be added.

We are hoping our readers and the readers of other sites understand the reasoning behind our push for openness. For Hardware Canucks, the days of not showing you EXACTLY what we are benchmarking are now over. Naturally, we are also hoping this will push for a more open-minded approach to GPU reviewing in general.

If you have any games you would like to see added or have any general commentary for improving our benchmarking process, please post in our dedicated Forum Thread.

- All instructions are based on Windows 7 x64 installations
- All files scanned for viruses prior to uploading.
- In order for some instructions to work, you MUST have enabled viewing of hidden folders

Latest Reviews in Video Cards
November 24, 2015
After finally getting some hands-on time with AMD's new Radeon Software Crimson, we have come to respect it in a big way.  Could this be the one thing that makes people rethink AMD's drivers?...
November 18, 2015
AMD's R9 380X is meant to fill the gap between the R9 380 and R9 390 but with prices ranging from $230 to $260, this new card will need great performance to differentiate itself....
November 12, 2015
They may be two very different cards at wildly separate ends of the price spectrum but AMD's R9 Nano and ASUS' GTX 970 Mini find themselves competing in the same ITX bracket. Is one really "better" th...