Here we have our real gaming tests. Each of the games we chose uses 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 frame 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.
Modern Warfare 2 is not a problem for the MSI 870A Fuzion. It is right up there with the 890FX again when we look at the minimum frame rate. Even looking at averages it is a close second. The performance here is close enough that you would never know the difference.
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.
Wow once again we see very similar scores when we use the minimum frame rate as our guide. Using the average as the guide, things are a little different, but realistically not by much.
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.
Although the MSI 870A Fuzion is behind in this particular test, it is important to (once again) point out that the difference is 9 FPS from top to bottom for both minimum and average frame rates. Not bad considering the difference in age of the two chipsets used.
The MSI 870A Fuzion with its older 770 + SB710 setup does an excellent job at gaming even when leaving the Fuzion technology out of the picture. I was very surprised to see just how close the 770 is to a board that is setup with an 890FX chispet. It really does call into question what is important in terms of gaming. We saw no problems at all while using the 870A as a gaming platform; the audio was good, the level load times were not excessive. In short, even without Fuzion the 870A can be a great starting point for gaming.
We will be following on to see how dual GPU performance really is on the 870A using all three of the available modes. (A or AMD, N or NVIDIA, and X or mix mode).