Gaming Performance using Quake 4, Battlefield 2 & Half-Life 2 Episode 1

Our gaming performance analysis starts out with Quake 4 running at 1600 x 1200 with High Quality visual settings. We used version 1.2 of Quake 4 and SMP was enabled:

Gaming Performance - Quake 4

Once we shift over to gaming performance, the differences between all of the tested systems are greatly diminished. Enabling 4xAA would further reduce the difference, to the point where most of the systems would be about equal. This does not change the fact that the Core 2 Duo chips are able to outperform their AMD counterparts in terms of raw performance, so once faster graphics cards become available we should see the processors begin to differentiate themselves more. Of course, by then we might also have games that are more demanding of the GPU.

Looking specifically at Quake 4 performance -- and remember that this is one of the few games that can truly take advantage of multiple processor cores -- the Core 2 processors continue to outperform their AMD counterparts, but only by a small margin. The overall spread between the X6800 and the X2 3800+ is 35%, which is certainly noticeable, but with frame rates that are all averaging over ~120 FPS Quake 4 is clearly going to run well on all of the tested systems. We had hoped to include Prey performance as well, so that we could see how an updated Quake 4/Doom 3 engine game performs, but we ran into benchmarking issues that we are currently investigating.

Next up we've got the recently released Half Life 2: Episode 1, running at default quality settings (auto detected with a pair of X1900 XTs installed) with the exception of AA and aniso being disabled. As with all of our gaming tests in this article we tested at 1600 x 1200:

Gaming Performance - Half-Life 2: Episode One

In Half-Life 2: Episode One, the Performance spread is 41%. At the top end of the spectrum, we're beginning to become GPU limited even without antialiasing enabled. Valve's Source engine clearly likes the Core 2 architecture, as even without overclocking the E6300 and E6400 clearly perform better than their similarly priced AMD counterparts.

Gaming Performance - Battlefield 2

Battlefield 2 is a game that has consistently demonstrated it is more CPU limited than GPU limited, especially with high-end graphics solutions. Here the spread between the processors is 58%, and the E6300/E6400 without overclocking are faster than everything from AMD except for the FX-62. At the top end of the spectrum, we finally begin to reach the limitations of our GPUs, with the top four systems all performing within 3% of each other.

Encoding Performance using DivX 6.1, WME9, Quicktime (H.264) & iTunes Gaming Performance using F.E.A.R. & Rise of Legends
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  • goinginstyle - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    Dear OC-Sharikou,


    Well, there was no news on Nvedia’s SLI when I posted my reply. I am glad Nvedia has come to Intel’s rescue.

    Do you not read any of the various articles on the internet and at this site. Everyone stated NV is releasing Intel SLI (Conroe) capable motherboards in August. Several sites have stated the 570SLI will sell between $90 to $120. Since the ATI chipset boards will be out in September or so I guess that means ATI/AMD is coming to Intels rescue also. LOL


    But I am not too optimistic about this announcement. It’s kind of late in the game, and by the time those boards are shipped, AMD Is showing off the K8L. Even if K8L is not due till 1Q 07, enthusiasts will have to think twice pouring out $300 on a conroe SLI ready mobo.

    Those boards are shipping next month. They will cost $90 to $200 at the high end. K8L might be introduced a year from now and what makes you think Intel will not have responded by then. Both companies are back into a true competition and this is not good, why?


    Soon AMD will release the 4x4's that will cost less than $1k (according to AMD) which is faster than any conroe system.

    That is just for the CPUs, does not include the board cost at all which is shaping up to be $300 or more according to a couple of Asian websites. I sure hope it will be faster than a E6700.


    But speculation aside, let’s look at what is available today and how much will cost: A good overclocking conroe board costs $270 compared to $120 AM2 boards.
    An E6300 + mobo will cost around $500 (to be able to OC FSB to 400mhz).

    Your calculations are WRONG again, try $140 for a Gigabyte DS3, $226 for E6300, and an easy 450FSB. The prices will continue to drop over the next couple of months.

    Not arguing that AMD does not have an excellent solution, they do and it is all I own currently, but to continue spreading your lies is just wrong.
  • goinginstyle - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Dear OC-Sharikou,

    Your lies are just getting worse by the day. Maybe mom should change your diaper more often as the sh!$ you spewing is getting heavier by the day.


    t's final. There’s no ATI for conroe-no crossfire, no chipset, nothing, nada.
    Those stories over at the INQwerewrongUIER are false. ATI publicly stated they are shipping Intel based boards. The new RD series will be here in a couple of months. How does it feel knowing that Intel's purchases from ATI account for the majority of their channel sales? AMD is going to rely on this revenue stream to help pay off the debt. HaHa.


    Nvedia's SLI is up in the air, and most probably will not happen.

    That is funny, just read a review of the first SLI Conroe boards here at this website twice already. NV launches their SLI series in a week or so. Pricing is already showing up at the distributors. Yet another lie from you.


    As I said before, You can buy an AM2 mobo+cpu+2 cheap SLI vid card, for less than $450 and no Intel set up can beat your gaming machine considering.

    False again. You will be able to do this in about a week with the NV SLI Intel boards. Already been posted here and elsewhere that the 570SLI will be around $90.


    This is my formal request to AT Management to revise this review to reflect what is available for conroe and please this time show us the AM2 cpu's overclocked, instead of hypothesizing everything (including availabilities of mobo and chipset), and what's the cheapest gamer's (so called enthusiast)setup.

    LOL.... What do you really expect will happen? Overclocked AMD versus overclocked Conroe still equals the same results. Does it mean I will rush out and replace my 4800+? The answer is no at this time but I do plan on going Conroe this fall. I really want to know what your infamous calculations show today? 6%+3%=11% = OC-Sharikou is still a jerk who got fired from Intel....
  • OcHungry - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    The pattern never changes and I should not expect civilized and logical answer/reply from most of Intel fans.
    There is no such thing as a $90 SLI intel motherboard. If there is please post the link.
    Going by AT's Motherboard article, the only SLI motherboard listed is "Asus P5N32-SLI SE" which costs ~ $205. But unfortunately the FSB can only overclock to 318mhz.
    The E6300 is a 7x multiplier which means : 7x 318=2226mhz final speed.
    There are places in the net that sell E6300 in back for $220, I agree, but considering the cheapest conroe mobo/CPU to be $425, and only able to OC to 2.3ghz, I don’t see it as attractive as an AM2 x2 setup. Today you can buy A64 3800 x2 for $153 and a good">SLI Mobo for less than $110. Add">2-GF 7600GS, you will have a very nice SLI gaming system for less than $450 (CPU+Vid Card+Mobo). The E6300/mobo will cost that much without 2 vid cards, and can only OC to 2.3ghz (according to AT's motherboard OC graph). Unlike what Mr. Anand believes, the 3800 x2 AM2 can overclock to 3ghz, (per forum members who have bought, and most of review sites). I see AM2 system a much wiser upgrade for those in budget and are concerned with price/performance.
  • wilki24 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    "E6300 are gouged to $295 ( and a $250 mobo to be able to overclock the way AT is suggesting. "

    And ZZF has it for $195, free shipping. A whopping $12 over the price listed in the article. Oh my, the price gouging. $12!!! However am I going to feed myself the rest of the month!

    And how many times do people have to say it before you get it through your thick skull: The cheaper motherboards will be available in a couple of weeks!

    I'm all for free speech, but this guy is a major troll who does nothing to foster intelligent commentary. Please remove him.
  • mkruer - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link">

    So Anand if you read this, I challenge you to bench a real world game, and use the maximum setting for the video card not the most basic.

    Is the Conroe faster, Yes!
    Is it substantially faster playing games with resolution and settings normal people would run their games at… Probably not!

    The moral of this story is if you want better game play, buy a better video card, that is unless you like to play are your games at 640x480 with all the details turn off.
  • goinginstyle - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Dear Kyle,

    So Anand if you read this, I challenge you to bench a real world game, and use the maximum setting for the video card not the most basic.

    What do you consider a real world game? Are the games in the article not real world? By the way, any reason why you refused to test CPU bound games that Anand and others have tested.

    The settings you use at {T}ardOCP might very well represent 1% of the gaming population. How many "real" world gamers use 1600x1200 8xAA/16xAF settings with a single video card and are happy with 90% of their gaming experience being played under 30FPS. Really, is that "real world" gaming?


    The moral of this story is if you want better game play, buy a better video card, that is unless you like to play are your games at 640x480 with all the details turn off.

    The moral of this story is that you need to get off AMD's payroll and realize that Intel has produced a very good processor series that out performs AMD. It took forever this time and it might not last long but you have to give them credit. Oh, based on your logic a $42 Celeron D is going to perform the same as AMD FX62. If that is the case why did anyone buy the Athlon 64 when the P4 was just as good.
  • mkruer - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Actually real world would be system defaults, or what ever the game thinks the system should run with. If you have ever play a game you would realize that almost all game setting a set by what the video card can support not by the CPU. Now you may tweak it to get your 300FPS on your 15 monitor that only has a 60 hertz refresh. But most people leave the default setting unless they experience some massive issues with the game play.

    Conroe thoroughly trashes AMD in more or less everything but the point remains that you are better off spending your money on a $500 video card then the Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800, and just stick with the next knock down i.e. Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
  • redbone75 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    I read Kyle's article the day it was posted and was actually taken aback by the overall tone of it. He's supposed to be taking these "real world" approaches to evaluating component performance for gaming, but how many people in the real world drop $1k plus on a processor for gaming? He only mentions the price difference between the two Intel chips, NOT the Intel chips versus the AMD chip. His overall message seemed to be "Don't believe the hype about Core 2 Duo" than anything else. Tell me this, did you once see anywhere in the article Kyle mentioning that the E6700 held its own against AMD's big gun and costs less than half the price? No, you didn't, because he never mentioned it. That he doesn't mention it doesn't necessarily mean he's pro-AMD or whatever, but to not praise the accomplishment makes you speculate just a bit. Heck, even the E6600 beats out the FX-62 in nearly every test, and it costs less than $400!

    Also, what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander. Different gamers have different tastes. Some might sacrifice a little AA or aniso in order to game at different settings. Kyles whole approach, while certainly admirable, is not the end all, be all to gaming evaluation.

    Bottom line, Intel has done an incredible job with Core 2 Duo. Gaming or otherwise, it's got it all, and don't even talk about the performance potential for overclocking.
  • mkruer - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    True, I am somewhat disappointed that he didn’t bench down to the more midrange prices (say the 4200+ 4600+) but I suspect that even those would be powerfully enough to keep the performance within 10% of the maximum, and as I posted later in the thread. Game benching should be run with system defaults. I find the whole logic of using a game to bench how powerful a CPU is fundamentally flawed. Games in general tend to be GPU bound, and if you are going to classify a price point you need to consider the cost of the entire system. I just might be that the $1000 system you put together is 95% completive with a $5000 system.
  • KayKay - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I was anticipating getting over 3 Ghz on these chips after recently seeing in the core 2 duo buyer's guide a few articles ago. There is no doubt the performance is stellar on these chips, and who knows maybe there is a good stepping out there (or coming soon) that will yield better results than what weve seen here.

    Good review though, please continue to do reviews involving "value overclocking" in the future

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