by Rob Williams on January 25, 2010 in Graphics & Displays
This past fall, NVIDIA filled out the remainder of its GT200 series of graphics cards with three models. For basic computing, there’s the $40 GeForce 210, while for those looking to get a bit of light gaming done, there’s the $60 GT 220. And to round things off, there’s the $90 GT 240, which handles all of today’s games rather well at 1080p.
At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our testbed specifications, but also a fully-detailed look at how we conduct our testing. For an exhaustive look at our methodologies, even down to the Windows Vista installation, please refer to this article.
The below table lists our testing machine’s hardware, which remains unchanged throughout all GPU testing, minus the graphics card. Each card used for comparison is also listed here, along with the driver version used. Each one of the URLs in this table can be clicked to view the respective review of that product, or if a review doesn’t exist, it will bring you to the product on the manufacturer’s website.
When preparing our testbeds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:
- No power-saving options are enabled in the motherboard’s BIOS.
- Internet is disabled.
- No Virus Scanner or Firewall is installed.
- The OS is kept clean; no scrap files are left in between runs.
- Hard drives affected are defragged with PerfectDisk 10 prior to a fresh benchmarking run.
- Machine has proper airflow and the room temperature is 80°F (27°C) or less.
To aide with the goal of keeping accurate and repeatable results, we alter certain services in Windows Vista from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing slightly inaccurate results. Disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at times utilize the hard drive and memory more than we’d like.
Services Disabled Prior to Benchmarking
- PerfectDisk 10
- Windows Defender
- Windows Error Reporting Service
- Windows Event Log
- Windows Firewall
- Windows Search
- Windows Update
For more robust information on how we tweak Windows, please refer once again to this article.
At this time, we currently benchmark all of our games using three popular resolutions: 1680×1050, 1920×1080 and also 2560×1600. 1680×1050 was chosen as it’s one of the most popular resolutions for gamers sporting ~20″ displays. 1920×1080 might stand out, since we’ve always used 1920×1200 in the past, but we didn’t make this change without some serious thought. After taking a look at the current landscape for desktop monitors around ~24″, we noticed that 1920×1200 is definitely on the way out, as more and more models are coming out as native 1080p. It’s for this reason that we chose it. Finally, for high-end gamers, we also benchmark using 2560×1600, a resolution that’s just about 2x 1080p.
For graphics cards that include less than 1GB of GDDR, we omit Grand Theft Auto IV from our testing, as our chosen detail settings require at least 800MB of available graphics memory. Also, if the card we’re benchmarking doesn’t offer the performance to handle 2560×1600 across most of our titles reliably, only 1680×1050 and 1920×1080 will be utilized.
Because we value results generated by real-world testing, we don’t utilize timedemos whatsoever. The possible exception might be Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage. Though it’s not a game, it essentially acts as a robust timedemo. We choose to use it as it’s a standard where GPU reviews are concerned, and we don’t want to rid our readers of results they expect to see.
All of our results are captured with the help of Beepa’s FRAPS 2.98, while stress-testing and temperature-monitoring is handled by OCCT 3.1.0 and GPU-Z, respectively.
Special Note: Because we’re taking a look at very low-end cards here, we’ll be running the cards through special settings, not our usual set of three. Because the GT 240 is capable, it will be run through our regular 1680×1050 and 1080p settings, but both the 210 and GT 220 will be run through five of our six titles at 1024×768 and 1280×1024. These models will not be run through GRID, because the game isn’t enjoyable with them.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Race Driver: GRID
World in Conflict: Soviet Assault