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Detecting GPU Quality

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Hi, I want to know how games detect low, medium, high end GPU hardware? One approach to me would be to base it on capabilities (does it support pixel shader 2.0, 3.0, 4.0?). However, there are low-end DirectX 10 cards which support all the CAPS but are not nearly as fast as the high-end DirectX 10 cards. That is, while it will run the program on high-settings, it will be slow. Is there another good metric for testing overall computational power to distinguish between, for example, a low end DirectX 10 card and a high end?

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You can run a "stress" test before the game actually starts. Render several frames without presenting them. Change a few parameters and run another test.

You can also run the stress test as background for a splash screen before user input begins.

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