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benchmark articles

SimCity Tested, Benchmarked

SimCity Tested, Benchmarked

Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming.

A city with few sims will see graphics cards such as the GeForce Titan or GTX 680 render massive frame rates because they are not being capped by the CPU (yet). As with most simulation and strategy games, SimCity is CPU dependent and overclocking should result in a healthy boost if needed. More inside.

Tomb Raider Tested, Benchmarked

Tomb Raider Tested, Benchmarked

Although this year's Tomb Raider reboot made our latest list of most anticipated PC games, I must admit that it was one of the games I was least looking forward to from a performance perspective because of previous titles' poor showing.

However, we were relieved to learn that Tomb Raider supports DirectX 11, which brings access to advanced rendering technologies such as depth of field, hd ambient occlusion, hardware tessellation, and super-sample anti-aliasing. Additionally, compared to the diluted console versions, the PC build offers better textures as well as AMD's TressFX real-time hair physics system.

Crysis 3 Tested, Benchmarked

Crysis 3 Tested, Benchmarked

Crytek has given us another opportunity to hammer some hardware with the arrival of Crysis 3. Built with CryEngine 3, the engine has been updated with improved dynamic cloth and vegetation, better lighting and shadows, and plenty more.

Plus, PC gamers won't have to wait for graphical extras. Crysis 3 launched with high-resolution textures, DX11 support and plenty of customization options that set it apart from the diluted consoles builds. The result looks incredible and we get the feeling this will prove to be the game that folks who are heavily invested in multi-GPU setups have been waiting for. Here's hoping we aren't woefully disappointed.

Dead Space 3 Tested, Benchmarked

Dead Space 3 Tested, Benchmarked

The third installment in the Dead Space series was released this month, and considering the game made our list of 2013's most anticipated PC games we thought we would check it out to see how it looked and performed.

Dead Space 3 might be a direct console port but it’s done right, at least as far as I can tell after a few hours of gameplay. The game might not have DirectX 11 features or a high resolution texture pack, but I personally found it to be quite enjoyable.

Far Cry 3 Tested, Benchmarked

Far Cry 3 Tested, Benchmarked

Like the original game, Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island, this time found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In typical TechSpot fashion, we'll be testing Far Cry 3's open world environment using 29 DirectX 11 graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges.

This new game is built using an advanced version of the Dunia engine called Dunia 2, which is said to feature new water rendering technology, a realistic weather system, advanced AI technology, a new animation system, realistic facial expressions, motion capture technology and global illumination -- many of which are made possible by the game's adoption of DirectX 11 and can only be experienced on the PC version.

Hitman: Absolution Benchmarked, Tested

Hitman: Absolution Benchmarked, Tested

Six years later and it seems the developer is ready to revive the infamous Agent 47 in Hitman's fifth game, which crept onto shelves last Tuesday, November 20 -- or the 47th week of the year. Among its other advancements, Hitman: Absolution is the first game to be developed using the new Glacier 2 engine.

The updated engine was specifically built for Hitman, with a strong emphasis on enabling very dense crowds and allowing players to not only interact with characters but also to influence their behavior. The engine is said to be able to handle up to crowds of 1200 characters, which makes Absolution unlike any other game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Tested, Benchmarked

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Tested, Benchmarked

For Call of Duty fans, developer Treyarch just delivered an early Christmas present when they released Black Ops II this week. As the ninth game in the Call of Duty franchise and the sequel to the 2010 game Black Ops, we are hoping to see something meaningfully new from Black Ops II.

But as usual, our main concern from a performance article perspective has to do with the game engine which has been slow to evolve over the years. The key changes to the game engine include a new technology called "reveal mapping" and HDR lighting. On paper the upgrade also calls for the move to the DirectX 11 API for the PC version of the game. This means PC gamers should enjoy better visuals when compared to those using console versions.

The Best Sub-$100 SSDs Tested, Reviewed

The Best Sub-$100 SSDs Tested, Reviewed

The major issue with SSD adoption over the past few years has been price, the astronomically high price when you are counting in hundreds of gigabytes. In today's comparison review we are going to look at 8 popular SSDs that cost $100 or less and feature capacities of up to 128GB.

The contenders include the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, Samsung 840 120GB and Crucial m4 128GB. The most affordable high-capacity SSD featured in our roundup is the Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB, while the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB, Crucial m4 64GB and Samsung 830 64GB should all offer stellar performance for under $80.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Tested, Benchmarked

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Tested, Benchmarked

Medal of Honor: Warfighter calls for no less than a 3GHz quad-core processor paired with a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950. Given those upper-end requirements, we expect the title to be fairly demanding with its visuals maxed out, and we'll be putting a ton of past and present-gen cards through their paces.

We'll be testing 29 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges with their respective latest beta drivers that claim to improve performance.

AMD A10-5800K APU Review: Trinity Comes to the Desktop

AMD A10-5800K APU Review: Trinity Comes to the Desktop

AMD has continued refining its Fusion offerings since launching the first APUs early last year. Just four months ago the company launched Trinity for mobile platforms -- arguably where its APUs provide the most value.

Now AMD is finally prepared to offer a desktop version, which brings a new socket and a new high-end chipset. Given that Piledriver improved Bulldozer's power consumption, we expect Trinity to be more efficient than Llano, while Cayman's VLIW4 architecture should boost the GPU's speed -- or so we hope.

Borderlands 2 GPU & CPU Performance Test

Borderlands 2 GPU & CPU Performance Test

Borderlands 2 succeeds at building on the foundation laid three years ago, delivering an improved menu system, revamped skill trees, new characters, more weapons, smarter foes, and the same addictive loot-driven co-op first-person shooter action. As exciting as all of that may be, we're more interested in seeing how the game runs on the finest PC hardware from Intel, AMD and Nvidia.

Built on a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3, the game only uses DirectX 9, opting to exclude the engine's DirectX 11 support. It's worth mentioning that Borderlands 2 is a "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, supporting many Nvidia features such as PhysX and 3D Vision Surround. Let's get down to business...

Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 Benchmarks: Microsoft's Latest OS Put to the Test

Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 Benchmarks: Microsoft's Latest OS Put to the Test

Back when Vista first arrived I remember comparing how it performed to XP and being extremely disappointed with the results. Vista was generally rough around the edges and that included drivers, so gaming and productivity applications were more often than not slower in the new OS. Microsoft's PR machine has been hard at work over the past few months, trying to explain the numerous improvements Windows 8 has received on the backend. The good news is that it shows.

For comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8 we will measure and test the performance of various aspects of the operating system including: boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.

The Portable Workstation Benchmark: MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

The Portable Workstation Benchmark: MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

Apple’s coveted Retina display has finally found its way to a full-size notebook courtesy of the latest MacBook Pro. In addition, there’s an entirely reworked chassis that’s nearly as thin as the MacBook Air and weighs more than a pound less than the standard Pro. Customers can also configure a Retina system with up to 16GB of RAM and 768GB of flash storage, versus a maximum of 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid state storage on a standard Pro.

But hey, who are we kidding, the only reason that most people are going to dish over the extra cash for Apple’s latest and greatest is the 2880 x 1800 resolution goodness of the Retina display. And I’ll go ahead and let you in a little secret: it’s a thing of beauty.

Best of Graphics Cards: Gaming at 1920x1200 and 2560x1600

Best of Graphics Cards: Gaming at 1920x1200 and 2560x1600

A powerful graphics card is likely the most expensive component in your PC if you're a gamer, but with all current and past-gen GPUs available in the range of $100 to $500, it can be tough to pick the right solution for your needs.

In an effort to narrow things down, we're about to compare today's most relevant gaming cards that sell for $200 or more, testing them in a slew of games to see how it breaks down as we look for the best graphics cards for gaming at resolutions of 1920x1200 and 2560x1600.

Max Payne 3 Performance Tested, Benchmarked

Max Payne 3 Performance Tested, Benchmarked

If you've been a gamer for at least a decade, then you will recognize Max Payne as the PC third-person shooter of the early 2000s. Notable for its film noir style and use of the bullet time effect (The Matrix), Max Payne's character went on to surpass anyone's expectations with several console ports, a sequel, and a feature film adaptation in 2008.

It's been hinted that Max Payne 3 will make the most of current high-end PCs, with DirectX 11 tessellation compatibility and advanced graphics options. With that in mind we test it with 25 graphics card configurations and a range of CPUs.

Diablo III Performance Tested, Benchmarked

Diablo III Performance Tested, Benchmarked

After 11 years in the making and more setbacks than we care to count, Blizzard has finally unleashed a third installment to its cult classic dungeon crawler.

Blizzard has somewhat of a reputation for making highly scalable titles that run on virtually any gaming rigs, so that's largely what we expect from the developer's latest offering... watch us beat the hell out of Diablo III with today's finest hardware.