Civilization V

A game that has plagued my testing over the past twelve months is Civilization V. Being on the older 12.3 Catalyst drivers were somewhat of a nightmare, giving no scaling, and as a result I dropped it from my test suite after only a couple of reviews. With the later drivers used for this review, the situation has improved but only slightly, as you will see below. Civilization V seems to run into a scaling bottleneck very early on, and any additional GPU allocation only causes worse performance.

Our Civilization V testing uses Ryan’s GPU benchmark test all wrapped up in a neat batch file. We test at 1440p, and report the average frame rate of a 5 minute test.

One 7970

Civilization V - One 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

Civilization V is the first game where we see a gap when comparing processor families. A big part of what makes Civ5 perform at the best rates seems to be PCIe 3.0, followed by CPU performance – our PCIe 2.0 Intel processors are a little behind the PCIe 3.0 models. By virtue of not having a PCIe 3.0 AMD motherboard in for testing, the bad rap falls on AMD until PCIe 3.0 becomes part of their main game.

Two 7970s

Civilization V - Two 7970s, 1440p, Max Settings

The power of PCIe 3.0 is more apparent with two 7970 GPUs, however it is worth noting that only processors such as the i5-2500K and above have actually improved their performance with the second GPU. Everything else stays relatively similar.

Three 7970s

Civilization V - Three 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

More cores and PCIe 3.0 are winners here, but no GPU configuration has scaled above two GPUs.

Four 7970s

Civilization V - Four 7970, 1440p, Max Settings

Again, no scaling.

One 580

Civilization V - One 580, 1440p, Max Settings

While the top end Intel processors again take the lead, an interesting point is that now we have all PCIe 2.0 values for comparison, the non-hyper threaded 2500K takes the top spot, 10% higher than the FX-8350.

Two 580s

Civilization V - Two 580s, 1440p, Max Settings

We have another Intel/AMD split, by virtue of the fact that none of the AMD processors scaled above the first GPU. On the Intel side, you need at least an i5-2500K to see scaling, similar to what we saw with the 7970s.

Civilization V conclusion

Intel processors are the clear winner here, though not one stands out over the other. Having PCIe 3.0 seems to be the positive point for Civilization V, but in most cases scaling is still out of the window unless you have a monster machine under your belt.

GPU Benchmarks: Dirt 3 GPU Benchmarks: Sleeping Dogs


View All Comments

  • K404 - Monday, May 06, 2013 - link

    AWESOME. Sure, it's not an exhaustive list of CPUs, but it shows enough to point a LOT of people in the right direction. Nice one Ian! Reply
  • Ortanon - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Very nice work. Reply
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - link

    Why doesn't Ivy Bridge have Quad x4 PCIe config option so that we can use Quad 7970 without using an extra PLX bridge? After all it's PCIe 3.0 so we still have 4 GB/s of bandwidth per card. Reply
  • IanCutress - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - link

    Intel limitations so you buy an X79/S2011. The PLX chip is a work around that limitation, of course, and helps expand motherboard product lines. Reply
  • xautau - Monday, May 13, 2013 - link

    Hi Ian.
    Congratulations. Very nice work.
    I could not check all 23 pages of comments, but I think there must be an update including C2Quad as it still is one of the most used configs. Q9450/9550 for instance?
  • IanCutress - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    I have a Q9400 in right now, and I am probing around for something more like a QX9650 as well :)

  • Stupido - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Maybe I can borrow you mine Q9650? ;) (it is clocked @4GHz 24/7 for few years already) Reply
  • Pjotr - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    Same, Q9450 here with 8 GB RAM on Win8, would love to see it in the charts. Do I just need a new graphics card (5850 now), or a whole new computer instead? Reply
  • Phynaz - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - link

    Wow, that's one large pile of work. You gotta love this stuff. Reply
  • SunLord - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - link

    Wow it's been awhile since I've seen an E-ATX case on anandtech pictured with an actual full size E-ATX motherboard installed in it to show what it looks like I'm almost shocked. Would be nice if you guys could get a few motherboard makers to give you some boards in all sizes even if they're non-functional display boards so you can use them in case reviews to show what the case looks like with different sized boards installed. Reply

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