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.
With a performance delta of 4 FPS, we really cannot call a clear winner. We can say that the 870 Extreme3 had a higher minimum FPS, but you would never know it if you had the systems side by side. Even using the average frame rates, the scores are far too close to call a clear winner.
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.
Using our normal minimum frame rate scale, the boards here are very evenly matched. However, when focusing on the average frame rates we see that the Intel based P55 Extreme4 is way out in the lead. Of course, Far Cry 2 is a game that is designed for Intel based CPUs, so that could be part of the reason for the large lead.
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.
For Bad Company 2 we find the P55 Extreme4 dropping behind again. However, we also have to note that it is only a 5 FPS difference between the top and bottom. This would more than likely not be noticeable in real usage. It makes it difficult to call a real winner here.
The ASRock P55 Extreme4 is capable of giving you good solid gaming performance. It is not going to be the fastest board out there. There is just something that seems to slow it down when it comes to a few of the more demanding titles. It could be the HDD performance, or it could be the extra demands on the PCIe bus from the additional SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 controllers. Still, you can expect decent gaming performance from this board without stuttering or any type of audio issues.
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