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 frame 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 that 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 A.I. load. This is not because of a complex A.I. 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.
When your frame rates are in the mid-100s and you have all the settings maxed out, well, there is not much to talk about.
Far Cry 2 (DX10)
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.
The numbers here are interesting to say the least. It seems the extra cores on the 980X are coming into play, at least in a limited capacity. We did not see the same increase in performance with the higher clock speeds as both CPUs show similar performance at stock and overclocked speeds. So it seems that the only difference between the two that the game is taking note of is the two extra physical cores.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 (DX11)
Battlefield Bad Company 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.
Not much really to say here, the performance numbers are nearly identical across the board.
Originally we included the scores from the Core i7 980X review for comparison only. It was the first Intel CPU we had used the HD 5970 with and would be a good measure of where the P55 and Core i5 stood. However, what it ended up showing us is that many games are simply not designed to work with multiple CPU cores or threads. The performance difference in Modern Warfare and Battlefield Bad Company 2 was laughable.
The scores were within 1-4 FPS of each other. On the other hand, we see that there are indeed some games that scale well with more physical cores available to them. Far Cry 2 shows this type of performance and is an indication of what we all should expect from our games. In the future we hope to see games that not only improve with more physical cores, but also with more available threads.