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 ***
Despite the fact that most games are very GPU limited, we are still noticing HDD and even audio creating issues in gaming performance. Because of this you may see differences in the number of frames rendered per second between different boards. Usually the difference is very small, but occasionally because of bad tracing, poor memory or HDD performance, this difference is significant. The issues are often more prevalent in older versions of DirectX, but can still pop up in DX10 and 11.
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.
Ok, so the AMD X6 comes in near the top on this one. However, while we certainly will call this a win for AMD, the fact that it is less than 10FPS between the top and bottom scores takes a little away from it. After all, at 100+ FPS it is highly unlikely that you will notice the difference during game play.
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. Settings we used for testing are shown below.
Ouch! In Far Cry 2 the AMD X6 CPU did not do well at all. Of course, this game was written with Intel CPUs in mind, but I would not have expected this.
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 (at least for the beginning of the game) 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.
Back to the win column for AMD, but again the difference is so slight that I have my doubts that anyone would notice if the CPUs were all put side by side.
AMD claims that the combination of their CPUs, the 5000 series GPUs and their 800 series chipset are the perfect match for gaming. I am not seeing that angle, though. In all of my testing I have not seen anything to show that having all AMD in a system is any better than a mixed bag of products.
The only place where they could be right is in terms of price. You can get an "all AMD" system for much less than an Intel, Intel, NVIDIA or AMD GPU combo. So perhaps what they should say is that the AMD platform is the best price/performance option. After all, it is all about the GPU these days, so if you can shave off a few bucks to get a much faster GPU you are probably going to do that.
So while there is no "real" performance advantage to the AMD platform, there IS a price advantage, making an all AMD system more attractive to the gamer on a budget. With the increasing cost of games, this could put a dent in some of Intel's sales.