Alien: Isolation

If first person survival mixed with horror is your sort of thing, then Alien: Isolation, based off of the Alien franchise, should be an interesting title. Developed by The Creative Assembly and released in October 2014, Alien: Isolation has won numerous awards from Game Of The Year to several top 10s/25s and Best Horror titles, ratcheting up over a million sales by February 2015. Alien: Isolation uses a custom built engine which includes dynamic sound effects and should be fully multi-core enabled. We take the average frame rate as our marker with a scripted version of the built-in benchmark.

For this test we used the following settings with our graphics cards:

Alien Isolation Settings
  Resolution Quality
Low GPU Integrated Graphics 1280x720 Ultra
ASUS R7 240 1GB DDR3
Medium GPU MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB 1920x1080 Ultra
MSI R9 285 Gaming 2G
High GPU ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB 1920x1080 Ultra
MSI R9 290X Gaming 4G

Alien Isolation seems to have recently had an update that affects low powered GPUs, pushing our new results to be very different to the results in our database. It only seems to affect the IGP and R7 240 results, so for now we'll focus on the other data.

Alien Isolation on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

Alien Isolation on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245)

Alien Isolation on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Alien Isolation on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

In each case the Core i3s perform at the top or near the top, with the higher frame rates being with the higher frequency parts. However, for our mid-range GPUs (R9 285, GTX 770), that doesn't seem to matter that much, and the $70 AMD Athlon X4 845, along with the A10 parts, are within shouting distance. However, the effect gets worse with higher power GPUs, with the graphs taking an Intel/AMD split almost. The 8-thread AMD FX part sits as close as it can, but the Skylake parts pull a 10+ FPS advantage, which equates to an 8% or better difference.


Performance Comparison: Legacy Gaming Comparison: Total War: Attila
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  • Morawka - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    It's still suprising to see it on a low end CPU. i didnt know the i3's had ECC, now i'm thinking of building a FREENAS box off of one of these
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - link

    You'd be surprised how many servers actually ship with i3's...those HP ML10's are incredibly common and I've seen a number of Lenovo SMB servers run i3's.

    The i3 is more than adequate for most small business servers unless they plan to run Hyper-V. Most other CPU intense services are cloud-based now (I personally think a business is crazy to maintain their own exchange server these days when Microsoft offers a $4/month/mailbox turn-key solution)

    Basically all servers do now is run the domain and a few basic services like file sharing and routing. SQL, Exchange, even Hyper-V are all inexpensive Azure\Office365 services. It really comes down to who costs more, your IT guy, or Microsoft. Odds are, the IT guy. Unfortunate because I am one.
  • jardows2 - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Low end consumer CPU's. Intel likes the product segmentation between Xeon's and i5/i7. This is also why Intel forced the use of the "c" series chipsets for the Xeon processors. a Xeon E3-1240 v5 is about $30.00 cheaper than an i7 6700, with a higher base frequency, but slightly lower turbo frequency.

    Of course, this helps people who are wanting server grade, but only need low end processing power. A Pentium or an i3 would be a great home server chip, but i5 or i7 overkill. If you are wanting to use a higher-end production computer with ECC, you probably are looking at higher-end processors than i5 or i7 anyway.

    However, AMD includes the support in all their AM3+ processors, and I believe in all their FM2 processors as well. Not every motherboard supports it.
  • sheh - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Yes, I was referring to non-server CPUs.

    But why is it on the i3? Not that I mind, but the surprising aspect and the problem is that it's not on i5 and i7.
  • Black Obsidian - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    jardows2 covers that in his/her product segmentation reference.

    If you want ECC on the low end, Intel is happy to sell you an i3. If your needs are any higher, Intel wants to push you towards a Xeon (and C-series chipset), which IIRC are higher-margin parts than the i5 and i7, and happen to have gone through additional server-related validation.
  • satai - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    I understand this concept but I still don't get why there are cheap ECC enabled i3s instead of more expensive (but still cheaper than 4C Xeons) dual-core Xeons...
  • extide - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    Yeah, that is kinda weird, you would think Intel would do that, and create even more segmentation, which is something they definitely tend to like to do.
  • rhysiam - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    My guess would be (and full disclosure... this an educated guess): at some point the market becomes too niche and the higher profit margins get lost to the additional costs of segmenting product lines, keeping different lines in stock, etc. The cheapest Xeon quad core on Newegg is already only $90 more than the cheapest i3. How much more could Intel actually charge for a dual core Xeon over the i3, the only benefit of which is ECC? Then they'd have to maintain a whole new product line, manage stock levels, etc. My guess is that for the relatively small number of customers pairing a dual core with ECC memory, it's just more trouble than it's worth.
  • satai - Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - link

    Thet sounds like a believable explanation.
  • DanNeely - Monday, August 8, 2016 - link

    What exactly is the point of the Core i3-6098P supposed to be? Compared to the equally priced I3-6100, it's slower, has a weaker GPU, and a higher TDP. On paper I can't see any reason to buy the former instead of the latter?

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