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3D Gaming Benchmarks
OpenGL and Direct3D Gaming Graphics Benchmark Suites
Furmark stresses and maxes out the Graphics card GPU by running a complex OpenGL scene using shaders.
Futuremark 3DMark 01 is an industry standard benchmark to determine a systems 3D performance with DirectX 8 Applications and Games
Futuremark 3Dmark 03, 05 and 06 are benchmarks designed to test DirectX9 performance of the graphics card
Futuremark 3dMark Vantage "is the new industry standard PC gaming benchmark, designed for Windows 7 or Windows Vista and DirectX10"
Futuremark 3DMark 11 " is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark for measuring the graphics performance of gaming PCs."
We ran Furmark at the 720p and 1080p pre-sets and each 3DMark at its default settings/resolution.
The results in Furmark and all 3Dmark versions we expected given that the AMD A6's GPU is of a difference class to that of the Intel i3 and NVIDIA GTX460, being mid, entry and performance respectively. AMD A8 achieves about a 1000 marks increase over the AMD A6. Motherboard manufactures such as Gigabyte have boasted scores as high as P6000 For 3DMark Vantage with an overclocked AMD A8 System and that claim is even printed on their product packaging.
Driving and Racing Games
We tested three different driving/racing games using their built in benchmarks. Dirt2 (2009) and Dirt3 (2011) Steam editions with latest updates and the free to play Trackmania Nations Forever by Nadeo (2008), version 2.11
Codemaster's Dirt2 and Dirt3 represented the latest, best-looking s in the genre, incorporating DirectX11 graphic while Trackmania represents a popular older title that runs fine on older basic computers.
We need 30FPS for a smooth playable experience, The AMD A6's discrete class/ mid-level c GPU achieves this at medium resolution in Dirt2 and Dirt3 and barely reaches 30FPs at Track mania's maximum settings
Intel I3-2100 and its HD2000 GPU offers 2-3x the performance of twice previous generation Intel 4 series integrated graphics and gives 30FPS in Dirt2 and 3 only at low resolution while medium-high for Trackmania gives 30FPS.
Note the battle between the dual core core2duo with NVIDIA GTX460 GPU and the quad core A6 with Radeon 6530 GPU. CPU performance is not the full picture and neither is GPU, a balance is needed.
Advanced users may tweak game settings to get the best results on their system; however, typical users will just choose a pre-set as we did.
Note, although our benchmarks indicate the game is playable, that is only half the story. Many games actually do not support any Intel Graphics and while the gameplay achieved decent frame rates, there were missing effects and visual fidelity compared to the AMD and NVIDIA graphics and since the DIRT2 and DIRT3 menus are full 3D animated scenes, the menus are extremely unresponsive to navigate especially at medium to high settings.
This may be fixed in a future game patch or Intel driver update however this is dubious. Intel is genuinely trying hard this generation to support most mainstream game titles. Although not playable, 13FPS at Full HD resolution with 4times Anti-Aliasing is at least in the right direction and not in the single digits.
Flight combat/simulator Games
Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 is quite a visually stunning flight/combat game from 2010 incorporating the latest DirectX11 graphics especially tessellation which makes mountains and terrain appear more realistic. We used the standalone HAWX2 benchmark and manually set the graphics options to low, medium and high as the benchmark lacks pre-sets and auto-configures the graphics settings depending on the system.
AMD A6 can handle High resolution with 30FPS while Intel i3 can only manage medium. Our Orange and Blue systems do not support DX11 however however they can still run in DirectX11 mode with the unsupported features not used or emulated.
Open World/Sandbox Games
Neither 2008s hit Grand Theft Auto IV From Rockstar nor 2010's Windows vista/DirectX10 only Just Cause 2 from Square-Enix support Intel graphics and both need high-end systems to achieve good frame rates. Neither game has pre-sets so we manually set the options to low medium and high, especially as both games auto configure to the specific system capability.
GTAIV is playable on AMD A6 thanks to its Radeon graphics however is not playable on Intel I3 unless the user is willing to run the absolute minimum settings something, which we do not recommend and even then it is a stretch. We used the full version game's built in benchmark. GTAIV was patched with the latest update.
Just Cause 2 is not much different in its results and again the AMD A6 system handles Medium resolution without any problems. We used the Just Cause 2 demo from steam and its built in benchmark. Although not supporting Intel Graphics, the older Intel 4 series graphics (blue) would not allow greater than 800x600 to be used and Just Cause 2's menus were black.
Capcom's Lost Planet 2 from 2010 is a popular showcase game of the third person shooter genre that includes Several DirectX11 Graphics features. We tested the downloadable benchmark of the game to show performance with a DirectX11 focused game. The benchmark features two different scenes featuring actual gameplay. The benchmark does not feature pre-sets so we adjusted settings to suit.
In DirectX9 mode, Intel provides just-playable frame rates at low resolution while AMD is capable of medium resolution at near 30FPS. AMD A6 is not capable of running the game at high resolution with playable frame rates. Note how at the low resolution the AMD system catches the more powerful GTX460.
If we enable DirectX11 graphic features, AMD suffers a penalty of 10fps. Meanwhile our older core2duo system with the gaming GPU has no trouble even at high resolution.
Our scores are best case (low resolution) and worst-case (high resolution)
This title does not officially support Intel graphics and with tweaking better results will be possible. AMD advised us that the A8-3850 would achieve 30FPS at 1600x900 with all medium settings and DirectX11.
2009's Resident Evil 5 From Capcom is also a third person shooter but of the survival/horror genre. Since it uses an older version of Capcom MT Framework game engine and supports DirectX10 rather than DirectX11 it gives us somewhat more acceptable results than the graphics heavy Lost Planet 2. Variable test reflects actual gameplay where the complexity of a scene will vary depending on the map location the player has reached. Different hardware handles simple and complex scenes in different ways. Fixed tests represent a fixed scene that can be used to compare different PCs or setups.
AMD A6 can handle medium to high resolution where as Intel I3 and its HD2000 graphics gives a better showing at medium resolution and good results at low resolution. Advanced users can tweak their settings and achieve higher results. High resolution is somewhat too much for integrated graphics and it would be best to use an add-on card with either system
For the classic first person shooter genre, we used the latest of game releases from 2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution steam edition with latest patches as well as Duke Nukem Forever's steam demo.
With both games being 2011 releases and DX:HR requiring minimum specification of GeForce 8 or Radeon HD2000 but recommending AMD Radeon HD5850, the graphics bar is set fairly high. Things are not as glum though.
We used Fraps to record the performance of the first two minutes of the game, which is a slow moving but graphically guided tour of a science lab. AMD A6's Radeon 6530 graphics is not quite able to achieve 30FPS at 1280 normal resolution, perhaps the A8 can reach 30FPS. A cheap add-on Radeon card in Crossfire with the integrated graphics will provide a cheap but significant boost to performance.
For the Intel system, a dedicated graphics card from between A$120-$180 such as a GeForce GTX550 or Radeon HD6770 or higher is more than enough to run Deus Ex at high resolution.
Since DX:HR is so new and DX:HR is an AMD endorsed game, AMD provided us with some sample benchmarks for various NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards where no graphics smaller than a NVIDIA GeForce GTX550ti or AMD Radeon HD 6770. Our test with the Radeon 6530D integrated in the AMD APU is borderline yet interesting.
Duke Nukem Forever uses the respected Unreal game Engine. High resolution is not possible for either AMD or INTEL integrated graphics however; users of both AMD and Intel graphics can still play this long anticipated game at playable frame rates at least, so these users are not left out in the cold.
DNF 's minimum requirements are NVIDIA GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600 or equivalent with 256MB video memory and recommended is NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better, with 512MB video memory. It does not seem as if Intel Graphics is officially supported by this title either.
We tested the first stadium map using fraps. We would like to note that even with the heavy-duty high performance GTX460, the frame rate dipped significantly when Duke Nukem steps off the elevator and confronts the Alien Cyclops Boss for the first time. It takes heavy graphics to make a NVIDIA GTX460 struggle so our results with Duke for AMD and INTEL are not be sneezed at.
Arcade and Strategy Games
Although our INTEL i3 test system achieves over 30FPS at medium resolution in 2009' Street Fighter IV also from Capcom, 30FPS is not enough for a fast-paced arcade game such as Street Fighter, which is more suited to 60FPS.
For the game, we had to manually set the graphics options. Our 'low' test profile is a hybrid of low and medium details settings as setting all the option switches to low turns off the background in the game. Like the other two Capcom games we used in this review, we selected the stand-alone benchmark and fixed mode test rather than variable test mode. It is actually a shame that 2011 entry to mid-level integrated graphics cannot run this game faster at medium or high details, as three or four year old affordable gaming systems can run this game at Full HD and details.
2007's World in Conflict from Sierra is a Real time Strategy game depicting fictional world war III between the cold war superpowers. It is known for its historical accuracy and intricate graphics detail here the player can zoom down to the 'blades of grass level'. WIC was one of the first game titles to support optional DirectX10 graphics and is used extensively by many technology review publications as a benchmark. We used the demo version built in benchmark. The built in benchmark does reflect real gameplay as the chosen map is one of the game's maps and parts of the game map used for the benchmark reflect the best and worst-case frame rate expected for the game
Anyone who has played this game seriously on the PC will be familiar with the certain scenarios in the game where the intense combat can bring the PC to a crawl if the hardware is not up to the task.