VGA Charts Spring 2011

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VGA charts - Introduction


topper-asrock.jpgVGA Charts for Spring and Summer 2011

Guru3D VGA charts Spring and Summer is brings you the "Guru3D VGA Charts". The VGA charts is a much requested feature by you, the readers. The VGA charts is simply put a selection of games in which we will show you performance numbers (measured by average framerate). The distinct difference in review results and these charts is two-fold, in our reviews we can only show you a handful comparative graphics card results due to limitations. In the VGA chart you can see all the reference cards we have tested recently in an orderly and easy to comprehend manner.

We look purely at reference (baseline) performance, as it is a tremendous task to keep these charts updated. Please bare in mind that due to driver revisions and passing time it is very possible that a card measured 4 months ago could be say 5%  faster now due to driver optimizations. At all times keep that in mind. We also include some multi-GPU results and as you will notice, sometimes that 2nd GPU didn't kick in, while a new driver revision might have already fixed it. Charts as shown today as such are Pandora's box.

So our charts might not be perfect but the the VGA charts will show you the baseline performance of products we have tested in recent times brining you a comprehensive and fairly reliable indication of graphics performance, we'll add future results over time. The VGA charts are for your reference only. There will be no comments on product performance, it's just a quick way to find results in a selection of modern games.

Also please bare in mind that all cards tested today are based on reference cards, the product available in the stores can differ in terms of factory-overclocks and can get you 10% more performance quite quickly.

So then, the Guru3D VGA Charts for Spring and Summer 2011 are here. It's then end of April and most DX11 graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA have been released. Yes it's about time for another massive update to the charts. Some charts have up-to sixty graphics cards slash combinations embedded. All these cards have been tested on the very same PC with the very same OS. Here in the lab we have a twin, e.g. we have two PCs build exactly the same, one for AMD (ATI) the other for NVIDIA graphics cards. The components, BIOS settings and OS are 100% the same on each system. that includes Windows updates. The only thing different would bee the graphics drivers.

For this 2011 update we'll make use of the following titles:

  • Far Cry 2
  • Call of Duty  MWF2
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Anno 14404
  • Metro 2033
  • Colin McRae DiRT
  • Crysis Warhead
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • 3DMark 11

We measure at 1920x1200 where possible to achieve nice GPU limited  test results. In red the most high-end single graphics card to date.

Please be aware that the results are based upon on accumulation of results over the past year and a half. There will be driver fluctuations, bugs and a lot of stuff to take into account. Please see the VGA charts as an indication of performance, not a precise measurement.

Our Test platform

To test our graphics card we choose a high-end platform to cater the latest graphics cards, but not too extreme as a the test setup needs to be representable to what you guys can have or mimick at home.


2010 eVGA X58 Classified
2011 MSI x58 Big Bang XPOWER

Core i7 965 @ 3750 MHz

Graphics Cards

Oh .. al LOT of them (!)


6144 MB (3x 2048 MB) DDR3 Corsair @ 1500 MHz

Power Supply Unit

1200 Watt


Dell 3007WFP - up to 2560x1600

OS related software

Windows 7 RTM 64-bit
DirectX 9/10/11 End User Runtime (latest available)
ATI Catalyst latest available to graphics card during release
NVIDIA GeForce latest available to graphics card during release

Software benchmark suite

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Colin McRae Dirt 2
  • Far Cry 2
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Crysis WARHEAD
  • Anno 1404
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • 3DMark 11
  • Metro 2033

A word about 'FPS'

What are we looking for in gaming, performance wise? First off, obviously Guru3D tends to think that all games should be played at the best image quality (IQ) possible. There's a dilemma though, IQ often interferes with the performance of a graphics card. We measure this in FPS, the number of frames a graphics card can render per second, the higher it is the more fluently your game will display itself.

A game's frames per second (FPS) is a measured average of a series of tests. That test is often a time demo, a recorded part of the game which is a 1:1 representation of the actual game and its gameplay experience. After forcing the same image quality settings; this time-demo is then used for all graphics cards so that the actual measuring is as objective as can be.

Frames per second


<30 FPS

very limited gameplay

30-40 FPS

average yet very playable

40-60 FPS

good gameplay

>60 FPS

best possible gameplay

  • So if a graphics card barely manages less than 30 FPS, then the game is not very playable, we want to avoid that at all cost.
  • With 30 FPS up-to roughly 40 FPS you'll be very able to play the game with perhaps a tiny stutter at certain graphically intensive parts. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Match the best possible resolution to this result and you'll have the best possible rendering quality versus resolution, hey you want both of them to be as high as possible.
  • When a graphics card is doing 60 FPS on average or higher then you can rest assured that the game will likely play extremely smoothly at every point in the game, turn on every possible in-game IQ setting.
  • Over 100 FPS? You either have a MONSTER graphics card solution or just a very old game.

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