Back in March, I took a closer look at how a tricked out HPE Phoenix performed in a couple quick testswith an Nvidia GTX 580 inside. In short, it is pretty solid for a mainstream single-GPU gaming machine. So, what I'm doing for this quick update - as you probably figured out from the title - is that I got my greedy little mitts on a slew of the newest graphics boards. I'm talking AMD's Radeon HD 7950, the HD 7970....and Nvidia's latest release – the GTX 680 – for a spin. Snagged-and-plugged-in, I am now in the midst of running a couple tests on this board. If you're curious to see what kind of difference these cards can make, read on....
What's been kicking around in my head lately is how well a new card will work on a level playing field. Tech editors do it all the time, but I figure on HP's blog, it'd be swell to know how well a new card would work on HP's mainstream gaming rig.
Not too shabby, right? Well, I consulted with a number of tech editor buddies of mine that hail from the likes of PC World, Wired, CNET, Tested.com...you get the idea...and came up with a solid agreed-upon list of tests that I plan to use from this point forward. I have more information on the games and testing methodology (and how to run the tests on your own PCs) right here.
Each game gets tested at two resolutions, three times each. The resolutions: 1920 x 1080, with all the settings jacked to 11. Fair waring: This isn’t always a fair apples-to-apples comparison. You see, we also toggle on extra features offered by cards, when available. Like PhysX features on NVIDIA. Or if a card offers higher Anti-Aliasing options (like, say, 32xCSAA). Point is, we’re not looking for “fair” at the 1920 x 1080 level – we’re looking for the most beautiful, playable moving image possible. Then we conduct a second test at 1600 x 900 with medium settings. This is a more level playing field test.
So, what happens when you stack up AMD's HD Radeon 7950, 7970, as well as Nvidia's GTX 580 and GTX 680? This chart should fill in the blanks for you.
So all the cards are on the table (PUN!) the 580 GTX is getting supplanted by the recently released GTX 680. Still, the 580 continues to kick out solid scores. Take a look at Dirt3, it still fires on all cylinders. Also, it's really cool seeing Batman: Arkham City in action with the PhysX functionality turned on. You can actually see the difference with things like moody, volumetric smoke that billows in tests. Ultimately, though, you’ll see that the cards are pretty close. Some games perform better with one card over the other – that is just the way it’s always been. So look at the breadth of games here and ask yourself which games you’re more likely to play – and at which settings.
Now there is one other thing that I should point out to you before we wrap this story: I recently walked you through how to get graphics cards in-and-out of the Phoenix. (http://h20435.www2.hp.com/t5/The-Next-Bench-Blog/How-to-Upgrade-the-HPE-Phoenix/ba-p/77261) In almost all the cases, the cards got set up in record time. HOWEVER, the Radeon HD 7970 card that I got is a mammoth deal – a little longer and thicker than the rest of the cards, this thing is one overclockable beast. It took a little extra effort to get that card inside. Once you unseat the power feed to the motherboard, you have enough leeway to slot in the 7970. With everything plugged back in, the 600Watt power supply inside Phoenix was more than enough to handle running it.
If you have any specific questions or special requests, let me know. I'm here to help!