Gamers, and tech aficionados alike scour the internet for graphics card benchmarks that determine what is the best product on the market. It seems like every three months a new video card is released that swoops in and takes its rightful place as the reigning king.
How do people differentiate video cards? Well through benchmarking scores.
Benchmark scores appear in the product review, and it offers the reader a standardized score, based on some benchmarking software like 3D Mark, PC Mark, G2D Mark and others.
Everyone can benchmark their PC, and it’s recommended that you should do so if you build it by yourself. Benchmarks can test for sudden performance issues – if your PC is experiencing lag, or it slows down sometimes, it is recommended that you perform such a test.
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Now let’s see what are the best graphic cards available and what are their benchmark scores.
We’ll start with the reigning king, as of May the 8th. A warm welcome to…
Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan
The suggested price is a whooping $1,000 – that’s $600 more than what I currently have.
I seriously ponder if the GeForce GTX Titan was built by the Greek God Hephaestus himself. It’s out of this world. Don’t believe me? Well it has 12GB GDDR5, and it’s GPU clock is at 1000MHz. I feel like a peasant with my 4GB DDR3 video card.
Based on GM200 it’s composed out of 8 billion transistors – and I almost fell off my chair; EIGHT BILLION transistors – it surpassed the previously cornerstone by one billion.
When you start to analyse it, the math kinda seems off. What do you mean by twice as much memory, higher clock rates, but keeping the same 250W maximum board power? Fortunately, it isn’t off, and you’ll see why in a minute.
If you compare the GTX Titan with the video cards Nvidia introduced in September of last year, you’ll notice that it’s based on the same GM200 Maxwell architecture. Instead of the 4 clusters, now you have 6, and with four Multiprocessors per GPC that equates to an astonishing 24 SMMs across the GPU. More math incoming. Multiply that with with 128 per SMM and you get a total of 3072. Yikes – so much power!
Benchmark tests don’t do it justice, and the GTX Titan is overshadowed according to this 3D Mark chart:
Nvidia has stated that it built the GTX Titan with future in mind – GM200 supports feature level 12.1, as well as GM204 does.
Power comsuption is downright impressive, and this is were it truly shines, and takes the spotlight. An 8W result in idle mode is shocking, when you think it has 12GB of GDDR5, and an incredibly complex GM200 GPU. And when it comes to gaming sessions it measures on average 224W. Even though Nvidia reports that the video card’s TDP is at 250W, I’ve never seen it go pass 230W.
It has been reported that the GTX Titan can reach a maximum of 83 degrees Celsius, but never surpasses it. It’s not something that you want to see on the long run.
It’s a nice product, and if you’re in its target gaming demographic, the GTX Titan has no equal.
AMD Radeon R9 295X2
Starting at a $620, the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 is a pretty great video card, and it’s one of the strongest GPU’s AMD has ever made in this category. The majority of gamers nowadays have motherboards that support at least two x16 PCI-Express slot – compatible with Sli, and CrossFireX setups, so multi-core cards are typically really hard to sell.
The R9 295X2 jumps on this trend, and slightly increases its GPU clock speed to 1.18GHz, from the previously 1GHz – there will be clearly no difference when it comes down to benchmark tests, but the company wants to send a message.
Now, if you don’t have a proper PSU, you’ll definitely have a bad time. AMD has warned potential buyers that they their power supply units should have no less that 45 amps of power on the first 12-volt rail of the system power supply and 28 amps on the second – regardless if your PSU stands at 1,200W, if it doesn’t supply the voltage across a single rail, it’s for nothing.
When comparing the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 with other video cards in the same price range, the graphics cards benchmarks ranks it on the top of the food chain:
The appeal of a video card like this is really the 4k capability – but fps dropped a little below 30. I’ve seen it go at 30 fps in Metro Last Light, 29 fps in Shogun 2, and with no problems, surpassing the 30 fps mark in Bioshock Infinite.
4k display is still something new, and in constant progress, so we’ll expect to see more advancements in this area in the next few years.
If you’re looking for a single card GPU that can run 4k without straining itself too much, then the R9 295X2 is the one for you. But if you’re hoping to add in Sli or CrossFireX configurations, then, no, it’s not the best one around. This isn’t to say that it’s not a great video card – it offers a lot for this price, and I highly recommend it to gamers.
AMD FirePro W9100
Released sometime in the Spring of 2014, the FirePro W9100 maintained the high-ground for a couple of months before being overthrown. It’s the only challenger to Nvidia’s Quadro K6000 which is still being sold at the price of $4,000, while the W9100 is set at $3,300 – its price dropped $700 since its release.
But I digress, price wars aren’t important, what truly matters are the video cards capabilities. Can it make my games come to life? Would I be susceptible to having an affair with Nvidia? Will I need anything else?
I can’t answer any of those questions, but what I can tell you are facts on why the W9100 is one hell of a video card.
It’s architecture is almost identical to FirePro W9000’s Tahiti GPU, and the only improvements can be notice when analysing the native LOG and EXP operations, the optimizations brought to the Masked Quad Sum of Absolute Difference (MQSAD) function, and the algorithms for motion estimation.
According to Tom’s Hardware that managed to benchmark the FirePro W9100 in Metro Last Light, it did tremendously well, and slightly surpassing Nvididia’s Quadro K6000 in both HD, and Ultra HD settings.
The FirePro W9100 is the only one that can support up to six 4k monitors at full resolution, and with the help of it’s 16GB GDDR5 memory, it only sacrifices 30 Hz when more than three are connected.
The bottom line is that both Nvidia and AMD have gone insane – paying over $3,000 for a graphic card is absurd, and in this reviewers opinion, you have too much money if you buy them.
Now, let’s move on to graphic cards benchmarks software – what are the best free ones available?
Graphics Cards Benchmarks Software #1 – 3DMark11
3Dmark11 is one of the best software that you can use to benchmark your rig – it doesn’t matter if you are a novice, or addicted to building the most high-tech rig that ever existed;
It comes in 3 editions:
- 3DMark 11 Basic Edition – It’s free, and the Performance preset is more than enough to satisfy your curiosity.
- 3DMark 11 Advanced Edition – You can buy it from their official website, or via Steam. It offers 3 presets, custom settings, unlimited results storage and benchmark looping options. All of this for $19,95.
- 3DMark 11 Professional Edition – it’s mostly intended for tech reviewers, business customers, and those who have crazy rigs. You can buy it from their official website for $995.
Graphics Cards Benchmarks Software #2 – Heaven
The Heaven benchmark software is one of the best free one’s available – also it has 2 editions available to buy. I’ve used it to benchmark my laptop. Don’t ask how it went, because I bought my Asus laptop 4 years ago – it brought me to tears.
So, the editions are:
- Basic – Free software that includes all the presets, custom settings, GPU monitoring, Interactive mode for personal use.
- Advanced – It will cost you $14,95 for the basic features plus benchmark looping, command line automation support, and reports in CSV format.
- Pro – For $495 it’s not recommended for the home user, because it offers way more features than you should need. Advanced features plus software rendering mode, per-frame deep analysis, personal and commercial use, and unlimited technical support.
Graphics Card Benchmarks Software #3 – Fraps
Fraps is not the best one around, and it gets easily bullied by 3DMark11, and Heaven, but it’s an option.
The benchmarking consists of analysing how many frames per second you are getting by measuring between any two points. It’s free, if you don’t mind the watermark, and you can buy it for the low price of $37. It’s not only a benchmark tool, it’s also a screen capture software that records video in realtime.