GRID: Autosport

No graphics tests are complete without some input from Codemasters and the EGO engine, which means for this round of testing we point towards GRID: Autosport, the next iteration in the GRID and racing genre. As with our previous racing testing, each update to the engine aims to add in effects, reflections, detail and realism, with Codemasters making ‘authenticity’ a main focal point for this version.

GRID’s benchmark mode is very flexible, and as a result we created a test race using a shortened version of the Red Bull Ring with twelve cars doing two laps. The car is focus starts last and is quite fast, but usually finishes second or third. For low end graphics we test at 1080p medium settings, whereas mid and high end graphics get the full 1080p maximum. Both the average and minimum frame rates are recorded.

GRID: Autosport on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560) 

GRID: Autosport on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

The final title in our testing is another battle of system performance with the open world action-adventure title, Shadow of Mordor. Produced by Monolith using the LithTech Jupiter EX engine and numerous detail add-ons, SoM goes for detail and complexity to a large extent, despite having to be cut down from the original plans. The main story itself was written by the same writer as Red Dead Redemption, and it received Zero Punctuation’s Game of The Year in 2014.

For testing purposes, SoM gives a dynamic screen resolution setting, allowing us to render at high resolutions that are then scaled down to the monitor. As a result, we get several tests using the in-game benchmark. For low end graphics we examine at 720p with low settings, whereas mid and high end graphics get 1080p Ultra. The top graphics test is also redone at 3840x2160, also with Ultra settings, and we also test two cards at 4K where possible.

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Shadow of Mordor on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Shadow of Mordor on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Gaming Performance: Alien Isolation, Total War Attila, & GTA V Power Consumption and i7-6950X Overclocking
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  • SAAB340 - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    If possible, can you have a look in to RAM overclocking as well. I believe the memory controller in Haswell-E isn't particularly great. The one in Skylake is way better. I wonder if Broadwell-E has improved there?

    I know RAM speeds in general don't make that much difference but in certain applications it does.
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    I'm still happily cruising with a 3930K. The 5930K was the twice the price of the CPU alone for what I paid for my 3930K, but it certainly doesn't offer twice the performance and the 6850K looks to be more expensive again.

    My 3930K still has a few years of life left in it, hopefully AMD can bring Intel's prices downward.
  • Witek - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    @SteveoLincolite - agreed, I am still on 3930K for more than 3 years now, and I would be happy to switch to something faster, but 6800K is essentially same speed, only faster in specialized workloads, and probably 2 time more costly. Going from 6 to 8 cores, only gives me 30% boost, for almost 4-5 times the prices. The 10 core one is a joke.

    3930K (and it overclocks easily too - 3.2GHz -> 4.2GHz with water cooling non stop in my setop), is still the best value out there probably.
  • prisonerX - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    It cracks me up that people pay say $300 for a mainstream i7 which is 65% graphics which they don't use, but employ that same silicon for a few more cores and the price is $1000+.

    People belittle AMD for not having the fastest silicon and then touch their toes price wise for whatever scraps Intel throws them. Particularly funny since mainstream processors were 5% slower in the last generation. It's like people are suffering Stockholm syndrome or something.
  • Alexey291 - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    Well it's little wonder that the cpu market is slowing down since there are no actual products worth buying from a mainstream purchasers' point of view
  • Eden-K121D - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    People on Haswell are well and good until something extraordinary comes out of intel/AMD
  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    When the most exciting thing about a platform refresh is a goddamn usb3.something type-whatever port, writing is on the wall.
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    Exactly. It's not slowing down because of smartphones or tablets but because 5% performance increases takes 10 years for the average user to be worth an upgrade.
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - link

    To take that one step further, for the average user it isn't even 5%. They aren't doing anything with the machine that isn't entirely adequate with what they have. I don't consider myself to be the average user by any means, but my i7-2600K system i built in the spring of 2011 is still more than fast enough for anything I do let alone spend money on a 6700K let alone any of these.
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, June 9, 2016 - link

    Indeed! This week I need to put a system together for handling SD video. I have at my disposal a whole range of SB/SB-E i7s, but they're overkill, so I'm going to reuse the parts from my brother's old PC instead, a P55 with an i7 870 which, at 4.2GHz, is still rather good (people forget it was a particularly low latency platform for its time, with boards that really did push what features one could include, some good innovation with slot spacing and other things). My own general tasks system, a 5GHz 2700K, I can't see becoming obsolete for a long time, it handles everything with ease (scores 880 for CB R15).

    And this is the key problem: it's the very tasks that would benefit the most from real performance and feature improvements where newer products have helped the least, baring in mind the upgrade costs involved and the lack of feature enhancements over the years (how long was it until Intel finally added native USB3 to the top-end chipset?). Given the cost, the gains of the latest top-end CPUs over what was available in 2011 just aren't worth it, which perhaps explains why I see comments even from X58 6-core owners saying they'll stick with their setups for now). Meanwhile, for anyone on a budget who doesn't want to consider 2nd-hand items, it's hard to ignore the value of AMD's current 4c and 6c offerings (heck, the PC I built for my gf is an old Ph2 X4 965 and it's more than adequate), given that really, for response and feel of a normal PC, having an SSD is more important than having the higher IPC of a costly Skylake vs. an FX 6300 or something.

    I was shocked at the launch price of the 6700K, and I didn't think Intel would make the same mistake again, but they have. One of the main things I do is offer free upgrade advice for prosumers on a limited budget (typically self-employed artists); atm, the 6950X is so expensive that I'd recommend a 2-socket XEON setup instead without hesitation. 3 years ago this wasn't the case, back then there was a solid rationale for (example) an AE user on a limited budget to build an oc'd 3930K. Today though, what Intel is doing will only help reduce the enthusiast market even further, and I was told by a high street shop owner that the top-end items are the ones which provide the best margins (he said his store couldn't survive on the mainstream level sales). There will be long term self-reinforcing consequences if Intel doesn't change direction. Perhaps Zen will achieve that; certainly many seem to hope it will.

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