Gaming Benchmarks: Mid-Range

Shifting gears, let's take the iGPU out of the equation and look at gaming from a CPU perspective, By moving up to higher-end video cards, we can being to see how Broadwell stacks up in CPU-bound gaming scenarios.

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 MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

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

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 MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

Total War: Attila on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245)

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 MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) Grand Theft Auto V on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) [Under 60 FPS] Grand Theft Auto V on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) Grand Theft Auto V on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) [Under 60 FPS] 

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 MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)GRID: Autosport on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) [Minimum FPS]

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 MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) Shadows of Mordor on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) [Minimum FPS] Shadows of Mordor on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) Shadows of Mordor on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) [Minimum FPS] 

Shadows of Mordor at 4K, Single GPU

Shadows of Mordor on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) Shadows of Mordor on MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240) [Minimum FPS] Shadows of Mordor on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) Shadows of Mordor on MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245) [Minimum FPS]

Conclusions on Mid-Range Graphics

With the Intel iGPU removed from the picture, what we're seeing here is the combination of Broadwell's architecture improvements, and the Crystal Well eDRAM functioning as an L4 cache for the CPU cores. The biggest benefit here Broadwell-DT was with the R9 285 for GRID on minimum frame rates, showing 75.6 for the 4790K vs 80.06 for the 5775C. Otherwise performance overall is not all that different from what we already see with the best Haswell CPUs, however it's a bit surprising that the Broadwell CPUs don't fall behind, given their rather sizable frequency deficit versus the i7-4790K.

Gaming Benchmarks: Integrated and R7 240 DDR3 Gaming Benchmarks: GTX 980 and R9 290X


View All Comments

  • extide - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    Have you ever overclocked a CPU before? Those limits are easily raised, and a properly O/C'd build will not throttle... Reply
  • DCide - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    It's hardly elite - just live video. But if the CPU saturates or crashes, everybody will know.

    I'm not skilled at overclocking. But for this application, stability is paramount. I wouldn't want to push it close to the limit, only to have it crash 5 hours into the stream. When I tested 4-core CPUs I had to run at low resolutions, or else the video would stutter. And I even at that I couldn't use all the features of the application.

    With the same low-profile case and the same heatsink/fan the 4790K would throttle in less than 30 minutes while the 5820K and 5960X never would. They were all running at 4GHz. I'm sure someone more skilled could make all 3 CPUs run faster. But the 8-core is still going to be about twice as fast as the 4-core.

    On the topic of the new CPUs, I won't be surprised if they O/C well enough to make them dominate the previous generations. But they won't be a match for the 2011-3 CPUs.
  • vision33r - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    If you're into server workloads, 8 cores would nice. For gaming, more cores only adds more heat and hardly any benefit to gaming performance. For gaming, quad-core is good enough with no integrated GPU. All this integrated GPU stuff is just a waste of resources. Most of us into performance and gaming don't want the extra heat and power consumption. Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Sunday, June 14, 2015 - link

    If the kiddies can play WoW on it, amd and intel are happy. They will never stop. Reply
  • Galatian - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    Would like to see some Quicksync Benchmarks! Anand noted fast Quicksync performance on the Iris Pro 5200, so I sure would like to see a) the differences between GT3e (Haswell) and GT3e (Broadwell) and b) the differences between GT2 (Haswell) and GT3e (Broadwell). Reply
  • Refuge - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    I think that is coming in part 2 judging by the first two pages of the article. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    I'll second the request for QuickSync testing. I do a bit of video editing with Vegas and do some bulk conversions with Handbrake so I have a keen interest on this topic. Reply
  • dj_aris - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    I'd like to see the 65w 4770R in the charts to measure the delta over a a generation (okay half a generation). Meanwhile, considering that i5-5675C is $276 but games much worse than a Haswell Pentium + a decent $200 discrete card I really don't see the point in traditional desktops. The only scenario I see fit would be in a tiny case using a super low profile thin mini-ITX board, so as to create a system similar to, say, an Alienware Alpha. But wait, there aren't any thin mini-ITX H or Z97 boards. Whereas back with Haswell we had thin mini boards but only non-Iris iGPUs. Oh Intel, there's always a part missing! Reply
  • DCide - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    I think you mean you don't see the point for a gaming desktop. A Pentium + $200 dGPU would be a poor choice for most traditional desktops. Reply
  • Mech0z - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    With DX12 supporting multiGPU much much better, could it be theorized that these will be very good for DX12 games together with a dGPU? Reply

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