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 motherboard 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.
While we can call this a "win" for the P7P55 WS, it is not a big win. The average difference from top to bottom was a handful of FPS. At the speeds the game was running at it would not be noticeable in the real world.
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.
The P7P55 WS does well in Far Cry 2, but again the differences are less than 13 FPS from top to bottom. When you are in the 80-90FPS range is it unlikely that you would be able see that at all.
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.
With less than 9FPS difference there is not much to say here. We can call a winner, but you would never know it to play the games side by side.
These days gaming is gaming. If you have the right GPU you will get good frame rates. The reason for this is that games are becoming more and more visually oriented. There is little improvement in AI and other items that demand CPU time and power.
One area that will still remain in the CPU realm is audio for onboard codecs. However, positional audio and surround sound are not often major features of games, so again the CPU and motherboard plays little part in gaming.
Still, we have to say that the P7P55 WS will not hold you back in your gaming endeavors. With the extra lanes for three way SLI and Crossfire it could actually be a great board for high end gaming (with monitors of 30-inches and up).