Gaming, Circa 2006

I’m still in the process of benchmarking other test systems, and it will probably be a couple of weeks, but I have nearly completed testing of 23 older/less-demanding games running on the E-350. I also tossed in a few titles that are neither old nor undemanding, like Civ5. All of the reported figures are generally from “Low” detail settings, though a few games have slightly modified settings. I also tested many of the titles at slightly higher quality settings to see what would happen. The table below summarizes the performance.

AMD E-350 Performance in Older Games
Title Detail Setting E-350 FPS Notes
Arkham Asylum
Low 29 Sluggish at times and appears mostly CPU limited; anything more than "Medium" is out of the question.
Battlefield 2 Low 50.8 Easily playable at Medium detail as well with >30FPS.
Civilization IV Medium 27 The game is playable and cursor input is separate from the frame rate; however, CPU performance can make later turns in large games take a long time.
Civilization V Minimum, DX9/DX11 9.0/11.8 Even at minimum detail, performance is pretty bad, although DX11 outperforms DX9 at minimum detail. Like several other games in our list, mouse input is handled separately from frame rates, so technically the game is playable. The opening video also stutters and has issues, but it can play back fine in Windows Media Player. Given the slow CPU and GPU performance in this title, I'd recommend skipping this on Brazos.
Company of Heroes Low 44 Average frame rates are good, but performance can drop into the low teens at times.
Crysis: Warhead Minimum 21.6 There's nothing to do for Crysis; it's too much for E-350.
Fallout 3 Low 32.9 Minimum frame rates can drop into the 20s, but in general the game is playable.
Far Cry Low 49.6 Definitely playable; Medium detail still averages nearly 40FPS.
Far Cry 2 Low 21.3 Even at minimum detail, FC2 runs poorly on E-350.
F.E.A.R. Minimum 100 Minimum frame rates were 40; you can definitely increase detail levels.
Half-Life 2 Low 31.9 This is one of the demanding sections (the Strider battle in City 17); elsewhere the game runs faster and is very playable.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two Low 26.8 Episode Two is also playable, but as indicated here you'll get some choppiness in some areas.
League of Legends Low 21.7 22FPS may seem low, but the game is playable since mouse input is separate from the frame rate; too slow for competitive players.
Minecraft Far + Fast 22.5 This is an outdoor test where frame rates were low. Mining, you see performance into the 60+ FPS range. Drop the view distance to "Normal" and you basically double the frame rate.
Need for Speed: World Low 33.5 You get periodic hiccups where the frame rate will drop severely; this seems to be server related, though, and most of the time you'll get 30+ FPS and can definitely play the game.
Oblivion Low 20.2 Ultra Low settings will improve performance but look really poor. This is an outdoor area with lots of trees, and even at 20FPS Oblivion is manageable.
Quake 4 Low 57.3 No problems at low detail, as Q4 is one of the first id games to support SMP; at higher settings it still breaks 30FPS.
STALKER: SoC Static + Min 53.2 Turn off static lighting and performance plummets into the 20s.
Supreme Commander Low 12.6 Far too CPU intensive to run on the E-350/Bobcat core.
Team Fortress 2 Low 37.8 Even at maximum detail, performance didn’t change. This may be a driver bug, but you can at least play TF2 casually.
Torchlight Netbook 45.7 Netbook mode runs great; at maximum detail without AA, you'll still get 22FPS, so somewhere in between minimum and maximum detail is the sweet spot.
Unreal Tournament 3 Low 29.7 UT3 is too demanding on the CPU for competitive play, but you can game casually. You'd want to go for UT2K4 for optimal performance from an Unreal Tournament game.
World of Warcraft Fair 49.6 I played through level 25 without trouble; even with Fair settings and maximum view distance I didn't have any problems. I can't speak to the performance in later raids, but casual players should be fine.

You can see the results of testing a broader selection of games are about as expected. Unreal Engine has always been a bit harder on the CPU than the GPU, so performance is lower than other games of that era. Quake 4 is the other side of the spectrum: it wants more GPU memory bandwidth than CPU performance, and the E-350 delivers enough to make everything besides anti-aliasing viable (at least for single-player). Several of the titles have somewhat low frame rates, but they’re still enjoyable because of the way the game is designed. Both Civilization games fall into this category, along with League of Legends.

Out of the 23 titles tested above, only three are definitely not playable at native resolution: Crysis, Far Cry 2, and Supreme Commander. [Update: Civ5 should probably be skipped as well.] The former two are somewhat newer titles, but I had requests to run them so that’s why they’re in the list. (Dropping to 800x600 might bring performance up to 30FPS, but I doubt many users are really interested in going that route as there are plenty of other options.)

Overall, gaming in the 2006 and earlier era is very doable on E-350, and you can even play some recent less-demanding games. Need for Speed: World for instance ran well enough that I played it for a few hours without any serious complaints—network lag was a bigger problem than frame rates. If you’re looking for gaming options, you might consider checking out the March issue of PC Gamer where they list their top 100 games of all time. At a quick glance, I’d say at least 80% of the games they listed would run well enough on E-350 to be enjoyable.

What About the Games? Battery Life and Temperatures
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  • klaasvdb - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    Is the Vaio upgradable to 4GB of RAM? Because it uses a 32 bit system. And so, can you install the 64bit version? Will 4Gb have an influence on the grapgic part? Because it uses chared memory.
    And is the CPU easy to replace with another one?
    For the moment, it has no much sense, because it is the best processor for its socket I think.
    Are there any new CPU's planned for this socket?
  • jvossman - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    wondering if you had a pdf guide or followed a video. My 1 yr old dropped my 2 month old x370 grrrrrrrrrr and now the front tabs have snapped up and the little chrome bar underneath the touchpad does not work.

    Thanks very much!
    John Voss
    Miami FL
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