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AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 660: frametimes preview

Hardware.Info recently started testing graphic cards in a new way, with frametime tests. By looking at the amount of time it takes to produce a single frame, you gain a more accurate impression of the performance of a video card than when you only compare the average framerate. We've already learned that a higher framerate doesn't always mean the card is better in a certain game.

We already used the new test to compare the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, and also the AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Today the AMD Radeon HD 7870 Ghz Edition and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 take center stage to duke it out.

This third frametime test is interesting for two reasons. The Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and the GeForce GTX 660 are in the same price segment, and both cards are based on GPUs different than what we have tested so far with the frametime tests. The Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is built around the Pitcairn GPU.

We won't be discussing the features of each graphics card here since we already covered that in our previous in-depth reviews, you can read the review of the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition review here and our GeForce GTX 660 review here.

In Assassin's Creed III with Full HD resolution with medium settings both cards exceed 100 fps, with the GTX 660 being slightly faster than AMD's card. The two cards perform well in the frametime test, with very little variance. Both cards provide a very smooth experience with this setting. The Nvidia card takes the lead with Very High settings, with 55.9 fps compared to 34.2 fps for AMD. In the frametime test both cards have little variance, but the Nvidia card is the faster one with a frametime score of 22.1 ms. Assassin's Creed III on Very High settings is playable on both cards, but runs best on the GTX 660.

In Battlefield 3 in Full HD with Medium settings the AMD card scores the highest framerate, with an average of 108 fps. The GTX 660 gets 89 fps. Based on the fps AMD would appear to be the best choice, but the frametime test proves the opposite. Nvidia has more consistent render times. With Ultra settings it's a draw, both with framerate and with frametime. The game is playable with both cards, which have a frametime score of below 30 ms. The rest of this article you can read on Hardware.Info.