Here we have our real gaming tests. Each of the games we chose use multiple cores and GPUs. They are able to stress the system through use of good AI. Both have decent positional audio that adds impact to the sound subsystem of the board. We ran each game through the level or parts listed and recorded frames per second using FRAPS. This brings the whole game into play.
Beginning with this review, we are changing our testing for CPUs and motherboards with an Internal Graphics Processor (IGP). As most IGPs are not meant for high-end gaming, we have swapped out one of our First Person Shooters for a more mainstream game. We have also adjusted down the testing resolution from 1920x1200 to 1280x960. In order to keep full measure of the board, we return to 1920x1200 when we test the board with our GTX 285.
The SIMS 3 is the third complete edition of this popular game. In it you create a personality for use in a virtual world. The town we chose was Sunset Valley, we created a basic character and off we went. We performed as many actions as we were could to give the board and GPU as much to think about as possible. The settings we used are shown below.
The Intel HD GMA does quite well with SIMS 3 at a more common resolution. We found the game to be playable and smooth. The quality of the graphics was also good with the options we set. It looks like Intel's claims of mainstream gaming on the Core i5 661 GPU are accurate for the SIMS 3 at least.
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: V1.00
Timedemo or Level Used: Clearing the Safe house through to the Rescue
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com
Product Homepage: http://www. http://farcry.us.ubi.com
Buy It Here
Far Cry 2 is a large sandbox style game. There are no levels here so as you move about the island you are on you do not have to wait for the "loading" sign to go away. It is mission driven so each mission is what you would normally think of as the next "level".
In the game you take the role of a mercenary who has been sent to kill the Jackal. Unfortunately your malaria kicks in and you end up being found by him. Long story short, you become the errand boy for a local militia leader and run all over the island doing his bidding. The settings we used for testing are shown below.
While we saw great promise with the SIMS 3, we still had trouble (big trouble) with Far Cry 2. In the end we feel that you would have to reduce the resolution and effects too far to achieve playable frame rates.
As we have talked about since the launch of the Clarkdale, the Intel HD GMA is not meant for high end gaming. It is designed to cover the mainstream gaming market. This it does very well as we see in our testing with SIMS 3. Granted, it cannot hit the high end resolutions, but the mainstream gaming market does not consist of 1920x1200 panels. Instead the average resolution is around 1280x960. The pairing of the Core i5 661 and the ASUS P7H57D-V EVO will give you good mainstream gaming performance in addition to its general purpose power.