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.
With frame rates in the 130-140s we have a hard time calling anyone the "winner" here. The P55A does hold the top spot for FPS when overclocked and at stock manages to out run some of the other boards when they are OCd. The problem is that the delta here is only 13FPS average and 17FPS across the minimum range. At these differences no one is going to notice at all. Still, we chalk this one up to GIGABYTE as a win.
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.
Again the P55A-UD7 comes out looking like a million dollars. However, once more we see very little difference from top to bottom (only 13FPS average and 10 minimum).
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.
Once more we see the GB P55A come out on top, but only by a slim margin (nothing that anyone looking at the screen or actually playing would notice).
As we have said many times, the GPU is going to have the biggest impact when it comes to high-resolution gaming. You will still need to make sure that your motherboard and CPU are not going to slow down your choice of GPU, but for the most part unless there is a serious issue, most boards today are going to do a good job.
Where they will stand out is in the subsystems like memory and HDD performance for level load times and also in the way the onboard audio CODEC handles the sounds from the game. For this the P55A-UD7 does a great job. None of the onboard subsystems are going to slow your gaming performance down.