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Editor: Julio Franco

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Test System Specs

Core i7 Test System Specs
- Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition (Overclocked @ 3.70GHz)
- x3 2GB G.Skill DDR3 PC3-12800 (CAS 9-9-9-24)
- Asus P6T (Intel X58)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 500GB 7200-RPM (Serial ATA300)
- MSI Radeon HD 5870 (1024MB) 850/1200MHz
- HIS Radeon HD 5850 (1024MB) 725/1000MHz
- Inno3D GeForce GTX 480 (1536MB) 700/1401/924MHz
- Palit GeForce GTX 470 (1280MB) 607/1215/837MHz
Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 257.15 Beta
- ATI Catalyst 10.5

All four graphics cards have been tested using the default AMD and Nvidia frequency specifications. Please note that the Nvidia cards are using the Forceware 257.15 drivers which have not been officially released yet, meaning that these are beta drivers. The AMD graphics cards were tested with the newly released ATI Catalyst 10.5 drivers. Although there have been no performance improvements claimed by AMD, these drivers do resolve a few small issues.

We will be testing with seven different games, which include: Battlefield Bad Company 2, Crysis Warhead, Just Cause 2, Metro 2033, Resident Evil 5, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat and Wolfenstein.

Each game was tested using the maximum visual quality settings with some level of anti-aliasing/ anisotropic filtering enabled when possible.

For measuring performance we are using Fraps, recording the minimum and average frame rates of each graphics card. As mentioned before, for this article we are including a frame rate timeline that should suggest how each graphics card performed at any given moment compared to the others. In games such as Wolfenstein where we'd normally use a pre-recorded timedemo to measure performance we have instead recorded actual gameplay.