1680x1050 - Gaming Performance
At 1680x1050 we found that the Radeon HD 5770 was able to average 61fps with a minimum of 41fps, which we considered playable. Below that there were half a dozen slower graphics cards - the GeForce GTS 450, for example, delivered playable frame rates but sudden drops in performance were occasionally noticeable.
Surprisingly, the old Radeon HD 4890 performed poorly. Averaging just 50fps, it was 2fps faster than the Radeon HD 4850 but both cards occasionally dropped to just 30fps and the lag was quite noticeable. The GeForce 9800 GT averaged 42fps and really struggled with intense scenes, while the current-gen Radeon HD 5670 was as always a disappointment.
Looking beyond the Radeon HD 5770 it was all smooth sailing. The old GeForce GTX 260 managed an average of 70fps and a minimum of 52fps, while the GeForce GTX 275 was significantly faster with an average of 84fps. The Radeon HD 5850 also performed well averaging 89fps, though it occasionally dipped down to a minimum of just 52fps.
At the top of the scale we have the brand new GeForce GTX 580 with an average of 123fps, where we suspect at this resolution it found the limits of our overclocked Core i7 processor. The GeForce GTX 480 was on average just 2fps slower, though the minimum recorded frame rate was 17fps slower. The dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 is rarely seen performing well at lower resolutions but with an average of 117fps we have nothing to complain about this time.