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 were able to in order to give the board and GPU as much to think about as we could. The settings we used are shown below.
When using the HD GMA the P7H55D-M does good enough to game with (at least with SIMS 3) but there will be some small stuttering and slowdowns.
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.
Although the ASUS P7H55 has a decent showing here, it is still not playable at this resolution. We have found (in past testing) that to get playable frame rates in most First Person Shooters you would have to drop the resolution to 800x600 and then disable most of the eye candy. At that point, it is just not worth it.
Although (as we mentioned above) you are not going to get good gaming out of the P7H55D-M EVO while using the GMA HD, you can be certain that dropping in a discrete GPU will give you a nice boost. The rest of the board will not hold you back for gaming. The audio is decent and does not impact performance (for gaming). Still, the reality is that a board like the P7H55D-M EVO with the Core i5 Clarkdale CPUs in sue is not intended for high performance gaming.