Gaming Performance 2015

Our 2015 gaming results are still relatively new, but the issue of FCLK settings might play a big role here. At launch, the default setting for the communication buffer between the CPU and PCIe stack was 800 MHz, even though Intel suggested 1000 MHz, but this was because of firmware limitations from Intel. Since then, there is firmware to enable 1000 MHz, and most motherboard manufacturers have this - but it is unclear if the motherboard will default to 1000 MHz and it might vary from BIOS version to BIOS version. As we test at default settings, our numbers are only ever snapshots in time, but it leads to some interesting differences in discrete GPU performance.

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 NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245)

Alien: Isolation on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560)

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 storyline 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 AMD R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

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

Total War: Attila on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560)

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 on AMD R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

Grand Theft Auto on NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245)

Grand Theft Auto on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560)

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

GRID: Autosport on NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245) GRID: Autosport on NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245)

GRID: Autosport on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560) GRID: Autosport on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

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

Shadow of Mordor on AMD R7 240 DDR3 2GB ($70)

Shadow of Mordor on NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245) Shadow of Mordor on NVIDIA GTX 770 2GB ($245)

Shadow of Mordor on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560) Shadow of Mordor on NVIDIA GTX 980 4GB ($560)

CPU Performance, Short Form ASRock E3V5 Performance Gaming Conclusion
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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    The USB 2/3 information in the table on the first page doesn't appear consistent between C236/C232 and Q170/B150. Is it correct? eg the latter lists 10/14 USB3/2 ports reflecting support for 14 USB ports, of which up to 10 can be converted into USB3 ports by combining them with a high speed IO lane from the chipset. The C236 lists 10/4 ports; which is the distribution you'd get if using 10 HSIO lanes to make the max number of USB3 ports. However putting it in the table like that implies that the 10 lanes are locked into USB3; which strikes me as odd, since for server/workstation uses SATA/PCIe/m.2 seem like they'd be more generally useful than lots of USB3. Reply
  • close - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    Apparently you can slap "performance-gaming" even on a product based on a cut down B150 with Xeon support. This is one way to devalue this kind of branding. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    @close: "Apparently you can slap "performance-gaming" even on a product based on a cut down B150 with Xeon support. This is one way to devalue this kind of branding."

    The mentality is a little different than that. They think you can slap "performance-gaming" on anything with overclocking features. Putting aside the fact that these are two different markets, they had the unfortunate lack of foresight to predict that Intel would shut the new fangled Xeon overclocking features down. Now the board no longer fits even their definition of "performance-gaming", but their is no way for the average consumer to know that. They should have rebranded the product. Instead, they've done exactly as you said, devalued the branding.
    Reply
  • close - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    To be honest I only spotted the "OC" part after I posted the comment. Waiting for the "Gaming-Performance-OC-Megatron stick in the mud" edition. Reply
  • xKrNMBoYx - Monday, May 09, 2016 - link

    Actually I have this motherboard and a E3 1275 V5. You can still OC on the very first BIOS (v1) or on the beta BIOS 1.3. Enjoying a 4.5GHz Skylake Xeon. Reply
  • Zarok001 - Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - link

    Can I still download this bios anywhere. I was told that this overclocking still works and now im sitting here with a GTX 1070 and a locked Intel Xeon E3-1245v5, i mean it boosts up to 3.9Ghz but i would love to overclock it. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, May 05, 2016 - link

    Let's face it, the branding doesn't have much value anyway at this point regardless of what ASRock does to it. It's silly to stick numbers into words these days as is done with the 1 in the word Fatal1ty. That just comes off as 1990's era childish. "Performance-gaming" is just marketing speak that is intended to appeal to a targeted audience of potential buyers in order to enable an exchange of money and products. The same is true of the color scheme the vendor selected, some of the "features" of the motherboard itself, and licensing the use of a now unknown crusty old "pro gamer." In order to charge a price premium, companies have to ensure their products fit the buyer both in actual capabilities, perceived benefits, and emotional appeal. It's pretty safe to dismiss the majority of ASRock's marketing materials (and probably for the best in all product purchases in order to make a rational decision) so a potential buyer can assess the actual benefits the product offers.

    And yes, I've been accused of being a buzzkill more than once. :)
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    So this is the weird byproduct of Xeon overclocking being discovered? But since Intel slapped down all the board manufacturers this is now an effectively useless product? Reply
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 - link

    Intel just doesnt wanna sell the new gen CPU's with OC and ECC..

    tons of people wanna build a skylake nas box with ECC for freenas, but intel is making it very hard to do this without buying a integrated board with a bunch of atom cores. We want the OC for VM performance, while still keeping ECC
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, May 05, 2016 - link

    I for one, is still amazed that people expects overclocking free lunches from Intel in year 2016 like they are still living in 2007. Reply

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