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.
*** A word on gaming as a CPU test; ***
Gaming is no longer a good indication of true CPU performance. As you push over 1024x768 resolutions you see the GPU take over and dominate the performance scale. This is even evident in 3DMark Vantage testing. The CPU score can be through the roof and still not add more than a handful of points to the overall score.
This does not mean the gaming is not of value for testing. It can show an issue with the CPU and gaming if the CPU is unable to meet the speed expected of a certain GPU. But for the most part you are not going to see great differences in performance between CPUs in high resolution gaming.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (DX9)
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Timedemo or Level Used: First combat until the school is cleared
Developer Homepage: http://www.infinityward.com/
Product Homepage: http://modernwarfare2.infinityward.com
Most of you know about the game Modern Warfare 2; it caused quite a bit of controversy in the latter half of 2009. The game is a first person shooter with a heavy combat emphasis. It follows the events in the first Modern Warfare very closely and brings back several characters from the original.
As with most games in the Call of Duty franchise, it features a heavy AI load. This is not because of a complex AI routine, but more due to the sheer number of enemies in any given combat situation. It is also our single DX9 based game in our testing suite. Settings are shown below.
As you can imagine, you are not going to have any issues with CPU performance from the Core i7 980X. But then again, this is true of just about any high-end CPU these days.
Far Cry 2 (DX10)
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.
Again, no problems playing Far Cry 2. Of course, I am sure that most of that performance is from the Radeon HD 5870.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 (DX11)
Battlefield Bad Company 2 is another sequel and also another game "franchise". Bad Company 2 is also our DX11 shooter game. The game follows a fictitious B company team on a mission to recover a Japanese defector. This puts you back in World War II while the multi-player game is centered on much more modern combat. For our testing we used the single player mode. Settings are shown below.
DX11 poses no issues for either the HD 5870 GPU or the Core i7 980X. Frame rates in the 60s should make just about everyone happy.
Now, I know that this is a limited sampling of games and none of the ones we tested are designed to use more than two to four threads. This means that most of the Core i7 980X is a sleep during these games. Of course, that will not always be the case. Intel (and more than a few game developers) are working hard to come out with games that not only use the latest version of DirectX, but also make use of the growing number of cores and threads available.
Some of the games that can use this are games like the recently released Napoleon Total War and the upcoming game R.U.S.E. These offload physics and AI to the CPU efficiently and allow for better gaming performance across the board. Then there is the Trinigy game engine that also uses the 12 threads that Gulftown has to offer. I know we have all heard this before; but to be realistic game developers have to move in this direction as the single core CPUs and systems die off rapidly. I mean, how many gamers do you know with single core systems?