Does TechSpot rerun benchmarks for updated drivers?

By Red Hawk
Sep 22, 2012
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  1. Hi. I was browsing video card reviews when I noticed a discrepancy with Techspot's graphics card benchmarks. The performance in the Dragon Age II benchmarks from the initial Radeon HD 7870 & 7850 review is the same as shown in the recent Geforce GTX 660 review. Techspot's review claims to use the 12.8 driver for AMD cards in the GTX 660 review. The benchmark numbers for the 7970, 7950, 7870, and 7850 are all the same between the reviews.

    Now compare the numbers for Techpowerup's Dragon Age II benchmarks in the intial 7850 & 7870 review and a recent Gigabyte GTX 660 review. Techpowerup claims to be using the 12.7 beta drivers for their review. Now obviously Techspot and Techpowerup's numbers can't be directly compared -- the benchmarks probably use different areas of the game, different durations, etc. What is interesting is that there is a difference in Techpowerup's benchmark results between reviews. The 7850, 7870, 7950, and 7970 all have improved results in the GTX 660 review article. The 7870 goes from 36.7 average FPS to 44.0 average FPS, for example. This clearly indicates that the Radeon cards got a performance boost in Dragon Age II between the release drivers and the 12.7 betas.

    This leads me to wonder: Why did Techspot's article not pick up on the difference? All the numbers for the DAII benchmarks are identical between the reviews. Techpowerup's benchmarks indicate that there was a performance improvement, and if Techspot was really presenting benchmarks with the 12.8 driver, the difference should have showed up there too. This indicates that Techspot did not update the Dragon Age II benchmarks for AMD cards with more recent drivers. As Techspot claims to use Catalyst 12.8 in the article, that would be dishonest journalism. I would like to ask Techspot's editors if they have really rerun the Dragon Age II benchmark with more recent drivers since the release of AMD's cards. If I do not see a response from Techspot I will continue investigating more Techspot game benchmarks to see if there are any similar situations.
  2. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,038

    How is the investigation going? ;)

    Okay so how it works is we test the latest drivers on a few select cards and note any improvements, if the frame rate changes by 1 – 2fps we don’t report the change as we believe this to be within the error margin for testing. More than that we certainly report the frame rate change and proceed with re-testing all the cards that driver affects.

    Obviously if a new driver claims to improve performance in a certain game or games we focus our attention there first. The Catalyst 12.8 drivers brought about a few improvements in a number of games which we have updated but we did not see any real change in Dragon Age II.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,673   +989

    So, in short, yes we do :)
  4. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,038

    Just as a follow up I checked the Dragon Age II results again with the Radeon HD 7970, 7870 and 7850 just to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. The results were spot on with what we are showing so there has been no performance change at all.

    Really I would be questioning how Techpowerup saw a big 20% performance increase. That is extremely rare when talking about drivers unless there was an obvious issue. Consider that AMD didn't even claim a performance improvement of any kind with the 12.7 beta or 12.8 drivers in Dragon Age II.

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