The oldest game we look at is Far Cry, released in March 2004. With its lush tropical islands and open environments, Far Cry was a beautiful and demanding game in its day. As we would expect, Far Cry is a single-threaded game. The single-core Athlon 64s were the top gaming CPUs back then and there was nothing nowhere near the GPU power of the 8800 GS available at that time.
We used the Hardware OC Far Cry Benchmark Utility v 1.8 for testing Far Cry and had it set to maximum details and 16xAF.
Taking a look at the results, we see quite a large amount of CPU scaling taking place. The high-clocked X2 5600+ is able to pull over 20 FPS ahead of the A64 4000+. Our 8800GS is having an easy time at these settings, so we are CPU-bound and see about the same results at all resolutions. The big surprise is that the X2 4200+ is able to beat the A64 4000+ despite 200 less MHz and half the L2 cache per core. The best explanation for this is that while Far Cry is not multi-threaded, the Nvidia display drivers we use are. It seems, in this game, that multi-threaded drivers are making a difference in performance.
Enabling 4x FSAA we again see a large FPS difference between these CPUs with the high-clocked X2 5600+ able to show a better picture of how the 8800 GS performs. At 1600x1200 we see that the 8800 GS starts to become the limiting factor, although we still observe a couple FPS spacing between the CPUs even at these settings.
HDR was not part of the original Far Cry but was added along with Shader Model 3.0 support in patch 1.3. Just like with 4x AA, we see a slight drop in FPS at 1280x1024, and a 20 FPS drop at 1600x1200. This drop is barely evident with the A64 4000+ as the CPU limited the FPS results.
With Far Cry, we see some interesting results for our three CPUs—the X2 5600+ taking top honors. But in the end, all three CPUs offer very playable performance. This once-hardware-demanding game is no struggle for a GPU like the 8800 GS, even with 4xAA or HDR.
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