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.
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 HD 5870.
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 could to give the board and GPU as much to think about as possible. The settings we used are shown below.
Overall, the gaming performance of the HD 4290 is not that great; this is even more pronounced on the Foxconn A9DA-S.
Far Cry 2
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 we see why boards with an IGP are not really suited to high-end gaming (and why they are not marketed that way by anyone except perhaps NVIDIA).
As we have noted on more than one occasion, the AMD HD 4290 is not that great of a performer when it comes to gaming. Even in lower end games like the SIMS it struggles and the settings have to be greatly reduced. You can get some fairly decent casual gaming done on the HD 4290, but for anything more demanding you are going to have some issues.
Despite our qualifying this and saying that IGPs are not good for high-quality, high-end gaming, we have had multiple people state that you can run games like Far Cry 2 and others on the HD 4290. Well, this is true; we did it using DX9 at 800x600 with everything on low and managed to get an average frame rate of just under 28 FPS. To do this we ended up with a game that looked terrible, even on a 17-inch display.
I know I would not spend $50+ on a game to have it look like that...