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Frame Rating: High End GPUs Benchmarked at 4K Resolutions

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Manufacturer: Various

Our 4K Testing Methods

You may have recently seen a story and video on PC Perspective about a new TV that made its way into the office.  Of particular interest is the fact that the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in TV is a 4K television; it has a native resolution of 3840x2160.  For those that are unfamiliar with the new upcoming TV and display standards, 3840x2160 is exactly four times the resolution of current 1080p TVs and displays.  Oh, and this TV only cost us $1300.

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In that short preview we validated that both NVIDIA and AMD current generation graphics cards support output to this TV at 3840x2160 using an HDMI cable.  You might be surprised to find that HDMI 1.4 can support 4K resolutions, but it can do so only at 30 Hz (60 Hz 4K TVs won't be available until 2014 most likely), half the refresh rate of most TVs and monitors at 60 Hz.  That doesn't mean we are limited to 30 FPS of performance though, far from it.  As you'll see in our testing on the coming pages we were able to push out much higher frame rates using some very high end graphics solutions.

I should point out that I am not a TV reviewer and I don't claim to be one, so I'll leave the technical merits of the monitor itself to others.  Instead I will only report on my experiences with it while using Windows and playing games - it's pretty freaking awesome.  The only downside I have found in my time with the TV as a gaming monitor thus far is with the 30 Hz refresh rate and Vsync disabled situations.  Because you are seeing fewer screen refreshes over the same amount of time than you would with a 60 Hz panel, all else being equal, you are getting twice as many "frames" of the game being pushed to the monitor each refresh cycle.  This means that the horizontal tearing associated with Vsync will likely be more apparent than it would otherwise. 

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Image from Digital Trends

I would likely recommend enabling Vsync for a tear-free experience on this TV once you are happy with performance levels, but obviously for our testing we wanted to keep it off to gauge performance of these graphics cards.

Continue reading our results from testing 4K 3840x2160 gaming on high end graphics cards!!

 

Throughout the story I'll have videos of our 4K footage on YouTube and to download natively.  The videos include our Frame Rating overlay on them but otherwise are simple H.264 nearly 100 mbps 3840x2160 videos.

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If you just want some screenshots, I have put together a ZIP file of them that you can download right here. 

Download 4K Game Screenshots

 

Also worth noting is our continued use of our Frame Rating capture-based performance testing.  As far as I know, no other outlet or company (including AMD or NVIDIA) has figured out how to capture video reliably at 3840x2160 @ 30 Hz.  The current maximum that was supported by the FCAT-ready reviewers was 2560x1440 @ 60 Hz.  Here is a comparison:

  • 1920x1080 @ 60 Hz - 124.4 Mpix/s
  • 2560x1440 @ 60 Hz - 221.1 Mpix/s
  • 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz - 245.7 Mpix/s
  • 3840x2160 @ 30 Hz - 248.8 Mpix/s

So for the time being at least, we think we are the only ones providing you with accurate, capture-based performance testing results for high end graphics cards at 4K resolutions.  I hope you find the results informative!

Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
Memory Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 16GB
Hard Drive OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB
AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB
EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB
Graphics Drivers AMD: 13.5 beta
AMD: Frame Pacing Prototype 2 (HD 7990)
NVIDIA: 320.00
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i
Operating System Windows 8 Pro x64

What you should be watching for

  1. HD 7970 vs GTX 680 vs GTX Titan - We have combined the top end single GPU solutions in a single graph to see how they stack up and included the Titan even though it is twice the price of the HD 7970 and GTX 680.
  2. GTX 680 2GB vs GTX 680 4GB - Our friends at EVGA were kind enough to send us some 4GB versions of the GTX 680 so we could test how much the additional frame buffer affects performance and potentially stutter in SLI configurations.
  3. HD 7970 CrossFire vs GTX 680 SLI vs GTX Titan SLI - In reality, we should only be comparing the HD 7970 in CF and GTX 680s in SLI but we tossed in the Titan as well just to mix things up.
  4. HD 7990 vs GTX 690 vs GTX Titan - For this test we are calling the "$999 Level" I wanted to see how all the currently available thousand dollar graphics cards held up against one another, regardless of their single or dual-GPU status.
  5. HD 7990 13.5 beta vs HD 7990 Prototype 2 - Even though we know the frame pacing problems with the HD 7990 will continue at 4K resolutions, I have included results using the very early prototype driver from AMD with the HD 7990 as well as the currently available 13.5 beta driver.

 

May 5, 2013 | 08:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So as I understand this new 4k tech - for desktop use only - does HDMI 1.4 spec only support 30hz refresh rates? If so, that would mean some very stuttery mouse movements (such as the difference between using 1080i and 1080p on the desktop). Very jittery mouse movement.

I am far less interested in what this new "inexpensive" new Seiki monitor can do for me in gaming and more for what it is capable of as far as desktop productivity. If my mouse if jumping around, or when trying to relocate a window, is terribly jittery and craptacular - then I will be waiting for the next gen of graphics support that will enable smooth desktop useage.

I am inclined to believe that it "should" be smooth, considering that 'eyefinity" can handle 6x1080p monitors smoothly. I would certainly love to replace the need for 6 monitors with 2 of these - which would technically provide more usable space.

Any input on this greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

May 6, 2013 | 05:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I found this just now browsing my bookmarks.

http://benchmark3d.com/micro-stutter-checker

May 8, 2013 | 11:54 AM - Posted by BHawthorne (not verified)

It amuses me that the 30hz limitation is unimportant in the review. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding on people's computing needs. Get back with me when we have DisplayPort 1.2 on the thing and some real bandwidth to push practical hz.

May 10, 2013 | 11:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have this display hooked into a WC titan/ OC 3770K rig. Once you get into the service menu and turn off the TV signal processing crap and adjust the lighting, the Seiki works wonderfully as a monitor for anything windows 2D... No mouse lag or skipping whatsoever. So its QED from that perspective... Simply astonishing clarity and real estate.

Gaming? Again, disable all the tV SP crap... You are still limited by 1) signal transmission tech, and 2) this $1100 panel (yes... Search for it) can only do 30Hz refresh at UHD. At lower rez it does much higher refresh. 60Hz UHD will be a year or more before it's "affordable". At 1440p this panel looks amazing when gaming.

May 12, 2013 | 10:54 AM - Posted by Ted G (not verified)

Question for you...
I purchased this TV and have a 4K up-scaling receiver. I would like to try it on my computer but my GTX 550 can't run that resolution. I am not a gamer but do a lot with photoshop & video editing. Is there a less expensive solution for video cards (must have HDMI out)? There isn't a lot on the internet about this subject.

May 12, 2013 | 12:33 PM - Posted by Ted G (not verified)

Question for you...
I purchased this TV and have a 4K up-scaling receiver. I would like to try it on my computer but my GTX 550 can't run that resolution. I am not a gamer but do a lot with photoshop & video editing. Is there a less expensive solution for video cards (must have HDMI out)? There isn't a lot on the internet about this subject.

May 12, 2013 | 01:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For desktop work, any low end 7-series AMD or 6-series NVidia should do it. You really do not need a high end card for windows desktop work.

Seiki just pubed a firmware update that some say addresses occasional (and very panel specific) handshake loos (1sec) BUT it knocks out the audio! Seiki responded that they are working on the problem. Seems like a lot of postprocessing and special EFX pros are buying these. (see reduser.net forum).

May 12, 2013 | 01:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

check reduser.net forum

May 13, 2013 | 05:32 AM - Posted by Ted G (not verified)

Thanks

July 9, 2013 | 06:20 PM - Posted by Amtrak (not verified)

Which Radeon 7990 did you use and did it require an adapter to do HDMI?

July 9, 2013 | 10:52 PM - Posted by Mattycee (not verified)

I grabbed on these Seiki TV's and currently am using it as a monitor. I have a GTX680 and am looking at upgrading to a GTX690.
What I wanted to make sure is that the DVI-D to HMDI adapter is enough to run the full resolution of the TV? I am sure that it is as you have tested it as I dont think that GTX690's have HDMI do they?

Hope you can advise?

Thanks

July 31, 2013 | 02:44 AM - Posted by Anonying (not verified)

teeeeheeeeeee

August 4, 2013 | 04:47 PM - Posted by Nikos (not verified)

Who would "invest in a 4K TV", taking into consideration that prices will only go down over time?

September 7, 2013 | 07:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

anything
My seiki 39" can do 2560x1440 @100hz
1920x1080 @120hz using gtx 680 4gb sli. I have come across this website a lot and watched the lengthy videos without ever finding this important piece of information. (create the resolutions and test them on the NVidia control panel).

September 19, 2013 | 05:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AA is useless in 4K screen, even most of ps3 games don't use aa at 720P.

October 27, 2013 | 10:32 PM - Posted by Rob (not verified)

No point in running 4k? Haha what a joke I run quad sli GTX690's and a 4k panel and there is no way in hell I would ever consider dropping back to a lower resolution. The difference is massive

March 29, 2014 | 12:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

LOL try and play at 5760x1080

July 23, 2014 | 09:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I got a seiki 4k tv 39in led and with vsync off yes I get screen tearing in some parts but with the 7990 it scales extremely well. It looks fantastic batman arkham origins looks phenomenal and it plays great. Crysis 3 I had to limit to medium settings and it played great as well. As long as you disable vsync you'll get similar fps to playing in 60hz. I got the tv on sale at tigerdirect for 300 bucks! Hell might as well try it! If you have the gpu to push it you will see a difference. All of my friends that came over did they were highly impressed.

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