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 CPU 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.
As you might have guessed, gaming performance is not affected by the CPU with Modern Warfare 2. Even running from top to bottom and looking at averages there is less than a 20FPS difference. When you look at minimum it is even smaller. Plus, all of these are well over the 32FPS considered by most as full fluid motion.
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.
Far Cry 2 is a little more lopsided. Here we have an almost 40FPS delta between top and bottom when we look at the averages. However, once again we find that the minimum numbers are very close. The 975 BE and 840 come in near the bottom, but both are still more than playable.
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.
Well now, look here; the new AMD CPUs come in at the top for Bad Company 2. Even using the minimums, they are doing quite well. But then again, this was an AMD sponsored game and it can combine the whole platform.
We keep saying this, but it bears repeating. The CPU is very seldom the bottle neck for your gaming. There are times when a slow CPU or improperly coded BIOS for your CPU will have an impact, but for the most part the GPU is the king here.
Both of the new Phenoms do well in gaming. If you are looking for a cheap gaming CPU with four cores, then these are probably worth looking at.