Gaming Benchmarks

As mentioned previously, this mini-review will focus on a few elements but all our data can be found in Bench, including tests with high end ($300+) graphics cards and some 4K testing.

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.

For low end graphics, we test at 720p with Ultra settings, whereas for mid and high range graphics we bump this up to 1080p, taking the average frame rate as our marker with a scripted version of the built-in benchmark.

Alien Isolation on Integrated Graphics

Alien Isolation on ASUS R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

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

Total War: Attila

The Total War franchise moves on to Attila, another The Creative Assembly development, and is a stand-alone strategy title set in 395AD where the main story line lets the gamer take control of the leader of the Huns in order to conquer parts of the world. Graphically the game can render hundreds/thousands of units on screen at once, all with their individual actions and can put some of the big cards to task.

For low end graphics, we test at 720p with performance settings, recording the average frame rate. With mid and high range graphics, we test at 1080p with the quality setting. In both circumstances, unlimited video memory is enabled and the in-game scripted benchmark is used.

Total War: Attila on Integrated Graphics

Total War: Attila on ASUS R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

Total War: Attila on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

Grand Theft Auto V

The highly anticipated iteration of the Grand Theft Auto franchise finally hit the shelves on April 14th 2015, with both AMD and NVIDIA in tow to help optimize the title. GTA doesn’t provide graphical presets, but opens up the options to users and extends the boundaries by pushing even the hardest systems to the limit using Rockstar’s Advanced Game Engine. Whether the user is flying high in the mountains with long draw distances or dealing with assorted trash in the city, when cranked up to maximum it creates stunning visuals but hard work for both the CPU and the GPU.

For our test we have scripted a version of the in-game benchmark, relying only on the final part which combines a flight scene along with an in-city drive-by followed by a tanker explosion. For low end systems we test at 720p on the lowest settings, whereas mid and high end graphics play at 1080p with very high settings across the board. We record both the average frame rate and the percentage of frames under 60 FPS (16.6ms).

Grand Theft Auto V on Integrated Graphics

Grand Theft Auto V on ASUS R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

Grand Theft Auto V on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

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 Integrated Graphics

GRID: Autosport on ASUS R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

GRID: Autosport on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor

The final title in our testing is another battle of system performance with the open world action-adventure title, Shadows 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.

Shadows of Mordor on Integrated Graphics

Shadows of Mordor on ASUS R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

Shadows of Mordor on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) [Minimum FPS]

Shadows of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560) Shadows of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560) [Minimum FPS]

I added some 4K numbers here, just to see the difference at a higher resolution. It turns out that for average frame rates at least, Shadows of Mordor is CPU agnostic. A fast CPU gets a higher rating in minimum frames however.

Office and Professional Performance (Windows and Linux) AMD A10-7700K and AMD A6-7400K Conclusion
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  • eRacer1 - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    "For those of us not red/green colorblind a review of the 7870k and 870k with their larger stock cpu coolers and improved IPC would have been very welcome."

    First review at CPU-World:

    "Both APUs have Radeon R7 graphics with 512 shaders, and the only difference is much higher GPU clock of the 7870K model. It runs at 867 MHz, which means that it could be up to 20% faster than the A10-7850K. Alas, we could not verify this assumption as the processor was not stable with the latest Catalyst beta drivers. It also did not run well enough in pure CPU applications, throttling down to the lowest power state after about 20 seconds of heavy load, then going back to one of the turbo power states, then throttling back, and so on...

    This unexpected behavior prevented us from running any benchmarks as their results all turned out to be much lower than expected."

    Looks like AMD sent out a PR statement about the launch. Did AMD marketing "forget" to send out samples for review?
  • Crunchy005 - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Ya one of the biggest differences between AMD, nvidia, and intel is AMD sucks at marketing. I mean look at Apple they aren't always the best for the price but they market really well and people don't notice, although you always get a quality computer even if you can get a more powerful windows for the same price.
  • nils_ - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    I have heard of the i5/i7 with only 2 cores (current Broadwell for example), but never heard of an i7 without HT?
  • extide - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Those are mobile processors, and follow different rules. On the desktop, i7 means >= 4 cores + HT, while in the mobile line i7 means 4MB L3 cache / 2 cores. Mobile i3/i5/i7 all have HT.

    i3 - 2 cores, 2-3MB L3 x100 series = 2MB, x300 series = 3MB. No HT, No Turbo.
    i5 - 4 cores, 6MB L3 Except R series, which has 4MB), No HT, Yes Turbo.
    i7 - 4cores, 8MB L3 (Except R series, which has 6MB) Yes HT, Yes Turbo. (NOT INCLUDING HEDT PARTS)

    i3 - Dual Core 3MB L3, Yes HT, No Turbo
    i5 - Dual Core 3MB L3, Yes HT, Yes Turbo.
    i7 - Dual Core 4MB L3 / Quad Core 6-8MB L3, Yes HT, Yes Turbo.
  • artk2219 - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Ah, but even on the desktop an I5 designation does not automatically mean that it has 4 cores, Intel still launches 2 core 4 thread "I5's", and they have since the launch of the original I5 (See the I5 680, 2390T, 3470T, 4570T, and 4570TE). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate the fact that they called this chip an "A10", but they're both guilty of this crap. Dont even get me started on most of the mobile "I7's".
  • artk2219 - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Another note is that all I3's have HT, but not turbo. This is essentially what differentiates a mobile I5 from a mobile I3. Another note is that the pentium's are just I3's with no hyperthreading, and the Celeron is a lower clocked, lower cached, Pentium.
  • extide - Monday, June 1, 2015 - link

    Yeah, those T series don;t always follow the mold, but for the most part, there is indeed a logical way they do things.

    Although, they could have done better, for sure.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    I agree, their Ax designations are moslty useless at best, or even misleading at worst.

    However, to be fair: Kaveri with 512 SPs or 384 SPs does not matter much in the real world. The bigger config is bandwidth starved anyway. This is not meant to be an excuse, just some soothing balm for "Essence_of_War" and other users.
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Oh what do you know my i5 I'm typing this on right now is dual core four threads. Yea AMD sucks for doing this, this CPU is the same as the highest end A8 with just 100MHz. increase on the base non turbo clock, what a waste. Intel is not guilt free either though they do crap like this as well especially in their mobile line.
  • leexgx - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    almost all Mobile CPUs i5 are dual core cpus,

    but i agree i3 should be dual core with HT, i5 should be Quad core no HT and i7 should be Quad core with HT, but even so the i3 is faster then A10 typically

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