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Old January 5, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Default The New HWC Budget GPU Test System

In an effort to keep you guys up to date regarding a few behind-the-scenes developments, there will be a number of posts going up in the next few weeks regarding the future direction of GPU reviews.

I know that many of you have been saying that using a high-end overclocked i7 920 system will artificially inflate results when it comes to lower-end GPUs. This among other reasons is why we have decided to break up the GPU testing into to segments: high-end and low-end. Granted, there is a blurry line between these two designations and there will be some overlap but that is inevitable.

Not only will the test system itself strive to not break the $500 CAD mark for the CPU, motherboard and memory but resolutions and in-game settings will also reflect the nature of what budget gamers expect.

In addition, going forward our entire game lineup has undergone a face-lift. For the time being, this new lineup will only be used for lower-end cards but expect the transition to the higher-end platform over the next month or two.

As it stands, this is what we are currently looking at for the specifications:

Intel i5 750 @ stock (~$220)
MSI H57 motherboard –exact name under NDA- (under $160)
4GB OCZ Platinum DDR3 @ 7-7-7-18 1333Mhz ($120)
Western Digital Black 640GB
Windows Ultimate N


Benchmark Programs (Resolutions = 1680 x 1050 & 1920 x 1200)

Aliens versus Predator (will be added at a later date)
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Borderlands
Dawn of War 2
DiRT 2
Dragon Age: Origins
Far Cry 2
Left 4 Dead 2


DX11 testing will be done using the Unigine Heaven demo along with DiRT 2 and AvP.


Please feel to make comment or ask questions in this thread.
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Last edited by SKYMTL; January 5, 2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old January 5, 2010, 12:54 PM
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One more time HWC do the right things to have th best result that we can count on it! good job SKY and all other HWC reviewer!
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Last edited by martin_metal_88; January 5, 2010 at 01:46 PM.
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Old January 5, 2010, 01:24 PM
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I think you mean i5 750 ;)

I found Borderlands to be very weird in performance on PC. It went from amazing to mediocre after the 1st patch. Any idea if this has been fixed? I am playing it on PS3 now so *shrugs*. And why no Crysis? I see FC2 which is a pretty heavy but nowhere as taxing as Crysis. Are you thinking the newer DX11 titles will be the ultimate test now?
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Old January 5, 2010, 01:31 PM
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I have done ALOT of research into Borderlands performance and there was a change with the patch. Basically, it modifies the "Smoothframerate" values in the Config file. If you edit the config and replace "smoothframerate = true" with "smoothframerate = false" and then change the next two values to "0" and "300", things should be all better.

As for Crysis, I am of the opinion that in its stock form (before texture packs, etc.) it is a poorly coded POS that is needlessly system hungry. As such, it has been removed. Maybe it will make a comeback in the high end system but it has no place in the low-end system IMO.
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Old January 5, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for the tip on Borderlands!

I can understand your gripe with Crysis. But I still think it is a good benchmark, even on low-end GPUs. But you are the man so I am good with whatever you decide. My only other suggestion would be add another Strategy game like ETW or an upcoming one like RUSE. If that means dropping one shooter than so be it. Just my 2 cents, otherwise great lineup SKY.
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Old January 5, 2010, 01:56 PM
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DoW 2 is a strategy game, no? ;)
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Old January 5, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Lol, that's what THQ says. But I think more than one would be better. So DoW2 + (ETW/RUSE/Order of War/WiC etc...)
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Old January 5, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Strategy games always seems more cpu-limited than gpu, but i may be wrong concerning the newer releases - I don't play strategy games often.
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Old January 5, 2010, 02:23 PM
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Strategy game like war hammer are growing fast these day and also grow in popularity and system ressource. It would be nice to have more of them in review. But yes they do take more CPU ressource then GPU ressource.
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Old January 5, 2010, 05:50 PM
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List seems reasonable to me. I do however have a few questions and comments to toss out there...

1- Is it feasable (cost and time wise) to create an AMD rig with similar specs to see if there is a difference in performance results from Intel chips?

2- Will Batman: Arkham Asylum always be run with AA turned off?

3- I agree with the Crysis decision to an extent, not because of the low benchmarks people get out of it, but rather because I tend to believe it's poorly coded. Although the argument that it still scales regardless of it's coding is a valid point that would support it's continued inclusion.

4- FYI - A LOT is always two words. Never one. Ever.

Cheers!
Corrective_Canuck :)
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