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 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.
Although you cannot really call this a "win", the X58 Extreme6 has the upper hand (at least a little) in terms of gaming. Of course, once again, the difference is so small that you would not be able to tell visually.
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.
Unfortunately for Far Cry2 things turn around on us. We see the Extreme6 drop back into last place (by a very small margin). This one is interesting as Far Cry2 is supposed to scale with the speed of the CPU. We have to wonder if the memory performance we saw on the X58 Extreme is part of the issue here.
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 the X58 Extreme6 turns things around and comes out on top. In fact, it manages to oust many of the overclocked boards with its stock scores.
Gaming is an odd and subjective subject. Although we can detail it out with numbers and put the finger on a winner, we have to remember that in 9 out of 10 test runs the difference is going to be so small that you would not notice. Even here with good results from the X58 Extreme6, it only shows you that this product will not hinder you in gaming. It is also not going to give you a massive advantage. The one good thing we can say is that the extra SATA and USB 3.0 controllers are not going to get in the way of the X58 Extreme6's ability to process graphical information.