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Reviewed: MSI Z97I Gaming AC & R9 270X Mini ITX - Testing Approach Featured

Test Setup

I tested the MSI Z97I Gaming AC R9 270X / Mini ITX bundle as a platform and listed those results against our gaming demon ASUS Maximus VI Gene Test Bench (specs also listed below). Although there is less RAM in the MSI platform, the benchmarks didn't tax the system for it to really matter - the main point here is to look at the compromise involved in 'downsizing' if any. In the interests of being thorough, I also checked the R9 270X Mini ITX Gaming on the ASUS test bench for the automated benchmarks and got virtually identical scores - within 1% margin of error.

MSI Mini ITX Platform

 

CPU

i5-4670K

CPU Cooler Deep Cool Gabriel low profile cooler & Noctua NH-U12S
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile - Black (2x4GB)
Case Lian Li Pitstop T60
Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD

Power Supply

Corsair HX850

Graphics Card

MSI R9 270X Mini ITX

Audio

Logitech G430 Gaming Headset

Network

Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700

Optical Samsung SATA2 BluRay drive
OS Windows 8.1

ASUS Maximus VI Gene Test Bench

CPU

i5-4670K

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile - Black (4x4GB)
Case Lian Li Pitstop T60
Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD

Power Supply

Corsair HX850

Graphics Cards

Gigabyte GTX670 OC 2GB Windforce3
Gigabyte Stock GTX 580
MSI GTX760 HAWK

Audio

Logitech G430 Gaming Headset

Network

Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700

Optical Samsung SATA2 BluRay drive
OS Windows 8.1

Test Methods

As time goes on, we will be adding more cards to the list but for now, we have to bench test what we have available.

There are two distinct types of testing that we do for graphics cards:

  • Benchmark testing where we use a scripted or specific benchmark utility that has no user interaction other than setting the graphics properties and hitting 'start'. The utility then gives us a report of the relevant statistics.
  • Subjective testing where we try to execute the same passage of game play from a save game or checkpoint with FRAPS running to a log file. This is less reproducible and more prone to variation so we declare this differently. The comparison between cards in the subjective section means less than the true benchmarks but it does provide a good indication of what you would see when gaming with each card.

We also only graph the average frame rates but include the minimum and maximum in the tables for reference. Minimum and maximum frame rates can be misleading, especially on subjective type test runs.

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Last modified onWednesday, 18 June 2014 19:24

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