Gaming Performance, Continued

Supreme Commander

Supreme Commander is one of the better RTS games to be released in recent memory although we are still huge fans of Command and Conquer 3 along with Company of Heroes. We chose Supreme Commander as it is both a GPU and CPU hog when it comes to systems resources. We utilize the built-in performance test to benchmark the game. We set all of the settings to high and only change the resolutions between benchmark runs. This benchmark provides a cornucopia of results but for our tests we will report the average frame rates during the benchmark. We generally find this game to be playable with frame rates at or above 35fps.

We witnessed stutters and graphic anomalies during CrossFire testing with the P35 setup along with the fact that the scores were generally lower than either of our single card setups. We attribute this problem to driver optimizations and/or BIOS issues with the R600 and P35 as our X1950XTX testing did not reveal the same pattern with this setup. This is yet another game where CrossFire support seems to be broken, at least with the P35 platform and the R600.

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes was released last year and is still proving to be a very addictive RTS game around the office. The game is extremely GPU intensive and also requires a hefty CPU at times. If this is beginning to sound a lot like Oblivion, well CoH is very similar to Oblivion in system requirements. The visuals and audio experience within the game will at times have you believing the game is based more on a First Person Shooter than a traditional Real Time Strategy game. We set all options to High and turn on all additional video options.

The game contains a built-in performance test that utilizes the game engine to generate several different action scenes along with a coffee argument as a sideline distraction before the war starts. We found the performance test gives a good indication of how well your system will perform throughout the game on average. We have found some of the in-game action sequences to be more demanding than the performance test and are working on game play benchmark that is repeatable. We generally found the game to be enjoyable with an average frame rate above 35fps.

We see the P35 CrossFire solution stinking up the office in this benchmark although the single GPU scores favor it. The P35 setup is running about 15% to 20% behind the 975X platform. We did not notice any stuttering during the performance test or actual game play but we did notice banding on the P35 setup that was not present in the same scenes on the 975X setup leading us to believe there is a definite driver issue. However, the spread between the 975X and P35 in backup testing with the X1950XTX CrossFire setup still showed a 7% to 9% difference in performance under both Vista and XP. This indicates the x16/x4 link is probably saturated by this game and leads to a noticeable performance difference. We will see how well the next set of drivers address these problems.


Prey offers some superb action sequences, unique weapons and characters, and is a visually stunning game at times. It still requires a very good GPU to run it with all of the eye candy turned on. We set all graphic settings to their maximum except for AA/AF and utilize a custom timedemo that takes place during one of the more action oriented sequences. We generally found the game to be enjoyable with an average frame rate above 35fps.

Once again the P35 CrossFire solution just cannot compete with the 975X solution. Although the frame rates are still very good the P35 setup is about 20% to 30% behind the 975X platform. Game play and visuals were excellent throughout testing but we did notice a few slowdowns during level changes that were not present on the 975X platform. The spread between the 975X and P35 in backup testing with the X1950XTX CrossFire setup still showed an 11% difference in performance under both Vista. This indicates the x16/x4 link is again saturated to some degree although driver optimizations should improve performance notably.

Gaming Performance First Thoughts


View All Comments

  • wjmbsd - Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - link

    Are there any benchmarks out there yet for the HD 2900 XT from Diamond (the $499 version w/ 1GB of DDR4)??? Anyone know when to expect to see some? Diamond says this is "The World's Fastest Graphics Card" and I was told by Maingear that the 1GB version of this card is much faster than even the Nvidia 8800 Ultra, at a fraction of the cost. Reply
  • lopri - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link


    In our more strenuous graphics test utilizing 3DMark06 we find the P35 results once again leads the 975X chipset but the margin of difference is a negligible 1~2%. We decided to see why the results were so close in this particular test. We looked over the results and found in the SM2.0 tests the P35 solution was about 2% behind the 975X scores, the P35 CPU score was slightly better, and the HDR/SM3.0 tests showed a 4% advantage for the P35. Since the HDR/SM3.0 tests heavily stress both the CPU and graphics bus we figured the x4 PCI Express lane limitation would cause a bottleneck in this test.

  • Verdant - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    Thanks for including the RTS scores; they are really the only games I play.

    This sentence doesn't seem to work grammatically:

    There is a significant amount of smoke, explosions, and vehicle usage as this a very GPU intensive Battlefield 2 benchmark.
    (pg 4)
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    The choice of words is fine, it's just not divided in a clear way.

    Add a comma after "usage" and the meaning is a lot clearer. I agree with you that it could have been worded a little more clearly, just replacing "as" with "making" would have done it. Even without changing the words, by moving vehicle usage first, it would have added clarity since it is a phrase, and smoke and explosions both are words, making the seperation a little more distinct. But, that's kind of nit-picking, isn't it (not that I'm above nit-picking, I just try to act like I am)?
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    Ugggh, "as" would have to be replaced with "making it", not "making". Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    Nevermind, why isn't there an edit button or delete button so I can delete idiotic posts of mine like the previous one? Reply
  • BLHealthy4life - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    What has ATI been doing all of these months?? Sure as hell hasn't been taking Nvidia seriously.

    Nvidia has to be pointing its finger at ATI, calling it a loser, and laughing its ass off...

  • crimson117 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link


    "We are not here to single handily knock AMD"

    should be

    "We are not here to single-handedly knock AMD"

  • vijay333 - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    completely OT, but it seems it is anal-retentive and not anal retentive.">
  • nicolasb - Thursday, May 17, 2007 - link

    When exactly are we expecting X38, anyway? Does "this summer" mean "July", or is it just another way of saying "Q3"? Reply

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