In our game testing for this review we decided that since we were playing with the three fastest cards in the world that we would have to run all of the games at their absolute maximum settings and see how each card fared individually. Based upon our findings here, we would see which card was really the king of the high-end market. All of our benchmarks listed below were run at 1080P resolution and with the game's settings set to the absolute maximum settings that made it comparable to other cards.Battlefield 3
In Battlefield 3, our favorite game, we wanted to see how the GTX 680 faired against the HD 7970 and the GTX 590. Looking at our results, we can see that the GTX 680 not only wins in the average frame rate category, but also in the minimum frame rate category. To us, minimum and average frame rates are the most importance as they have the biggest influence on game performance.
The GTX 680 had an average of 94 FPS while the GTX 590 had an average FPS of 79 and the HD 7970 had 65 FPS. For minimum FPS, the GTX 590 actually did very poorly with 16FPS with the HD 7970 at 37 FPS which is still very playable. The GTX 680 is ridiculously higher than both of those cards with a minimum FPS of 87 FPS which is amazingly high considering the settings that we had been running it at. If you look at the graph itself, you'll notice that the GTX 680's Max, Min and Average FPS were all relatively close to each other, unlike the GTX 590. We also noticed some artifacting and various graphical glitches on the GTX 590 that we did not experience on the other cards.Batman Arkham City
In Batman Arkham City, we tested this extremely heavy hitting game (no pun intended) with our top three cards, but we also decided to throw the GTX 680 at 32XCSAA which is an NVIDIA only setting for their graphics cards on the GTX 680.
Looking at our results, the GTX 590 performed the best in terms of average and minimum frame rate and the game played pretty smoothly. The GTX 680 performed at a minimum FPS of 29 while the GTX 590 played at 31 FPS and the HD 7970 played at 26 FPS. In our eyes, anything under 30 FPS will have noticeable lag, but when playing this game we didn't really notice any on any of the cards even though the frame rates did dip below 30 or hover around 30. The average frame rates for the cards were 53 for the GTX 590 and 45 for the GTX 680 as well as 42 for the HD 7970, essentially saying that the 7970 and GTX 680 had a similar level of performance in this game. Admittedly, this is an NVIDIA favored title, so that should be factored into the equation as well.
We also tested the GTX at 32X CSAA and took a slight hit to FPS with the minimum FPS going down to 25 FPS and the average actually remaining flat at 45 FPS. This simply means that even at a higher level of AA, the GTX 680 handles Batman Arkham City pretty well for being a single GPU. But we are still a bit disappointed in the sub 30 frame rates. Hopefully with future driver updates we can see some performance improvements to improve the minimum frame rate of the GTX 680.Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest iteration of Steam's Source engine, we figured it would be the best way to test all of these high-end graphics cards even though we know that the source engine is not that graphically intensive.
In CS:GO the GTX 590 actually won the benchmarks for minimum and average frame rates. The GTX 590 pulled in an average of 258 FPS while the HD 7970 ran at 245 FPS and the GTX 680 ran at 170 FPS, significantly lower. We could chalk this up to drivers, but we shall see. As it stands right now, all three cards had at least 100 FPS and if you ask anyone that's enough to play smoothly. Also, all three cards hit the steam engine max FPS of 300 as well.
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