Part 3: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Need For Speed Shift

Need For Speed: Shift

The stock platforms in Parts 1 & 2 pretty much breezed through Fallout 3 and Race Driver GRID, so we looked into replacing these two with potentially more demanding titles. We are still looking into a new RPG, but for Parts 3 & 4, we’ll use Need for Speed Shift for the racing genre.

In order to benchmark Shift, we use FRAPS to benchmark a 60 second lap around the Dakota GP track. We utilize the demanding cockpit view and start in the back of the pack, which should provide close to a worst-case scenario for performance. As with GRID, frame rates below 40 FPS are noticeable, but we’ll shoot for an average of 40 FPS as our target. Also, care was again taken to maintain race-to-race consistency, and an average of three such races recorded to further improve fairness and accuracy.

We dropped 1280x1024 for this title, as the game does not have built-in full-screen support for 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratios while running a 16:10 native desktop resolution. At three races times five processors times seven video cards, it was already quite a chore to benchmark the three wide-screen resolutions, never mind adding a fourth resolution and the tedious task of working around the game’s full-screen limitations.

The Radeon HD 5750 manages to average over 60 FPS regardless of processor, even with 4x AA and 16x AF enabled.

Once we step up graphics muscle, CPU limitations become more evident. The 4.4 GHz Core 2 Duo E8400 edges out the 3.7GHz Core 2 Quad, but it’s the new Core i5 and i7 architectures left standing at the top.

Slightly lower performance for each card having just one GPU, but otherwise, here we see same basic picture observed at 1680x1050.

At 2560x1600, gameplay on the Radeon HD 5750 is painful, at times making it difficult to hold a line and navigate through tight traffic. Had we overclocked our GeForce GTX 260 to its maximum (rather than rely on BFG’s factory overclock), performance may have stayed above the target. We’ll call this borderline. Although some chugging was present down the opening straight-away, the overall experience was still acceptable.

The Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 285 both deliver solid performance with just a few brief drops below 40 FPS. While the GeForce GTX 295 and Radeon HD 5870 duke it out (depending on the processor), the stock HD Radeon 5970 surges ahead and manages to top the 100 FPS mark.

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    Top Comments
  • builderbobftw
    Quote:
    Its total nonsense, buying pc for gaming today. I have Xbox360 and PS3 + Nintendo DS and also QuadCore based gaming PC. I dont play on PC anymore, im only using it for browsing, listening music and communicating with others. Netbook should be totally sufficient for such task, i will never buy PC for gaming in future. GO and buy gaming console, if you have good TV, and you will be sitting around 2 - 2,5 meters from screen, graphics is pretty good - totally sufficient.


    if the diffrence bewteen console and PC isn't night and day, you must be using a 5450.
    14
  • ColMirage
    fatkid35first!

    Facepalm...

    Glad to see the last part of the series. Very useful!
    12
  • Other Comments
  • fatkid35
    first!
    -31
  • ColMirage
    fatkid35first!

    Facepalm...

    Glad to see the last part of the series. Very useful!
    12
  • liquidsnake718
    I love how on the first page picture of all the games on this article show the games that truly take a toll on GPU's and CPU's. You are however missing Metro 2033 and Dirt 2 in DX11 which obliterates some GPUs in DX11!
    -3
  • IzzyCraft
    A metro 2033 graph wouldn't be interesting it would start at 0 and end at 5 for most set ups :D
    8
  • Anonymous
    The choice of Corsair Dominator for the RAM is surprising, given that there are equally fast and stable choices at a much lower price point. OCZ, G Skill, Crucial, etc. I still love their power supplies though.
    0
  • duk3
    ColMirageGlad to see the last part of the series. Very useful!


    They mentioned a part 4 in the article, with overclocking AMD processors.
    0
  • kaintfm
    The choice of Corsair Dominator for the RAM is surprising, given that there are equally fast and stable choices at a much lower price point. OCZ, G Skill, Crucial, etc. I still love their power supplies though.
    1
  • agnickolov
    And where is the Core i3 530? This is the real gaming gem of a CPU, but I hardly see it in any reviews @ Tom's...
    0
  • manitoublack
    Bought 2 GTX295's on release and run them on my i7-920, in SLi at 640MHz. Still over a year on and there still almost top dog.

    Great review Toms, and makes it easier to sleep at night knowing that 14months on little can touch what I've got regardless of the $1600AUD buyin.
    -10
  • FUtomNOreg
    Very enlightening though, given my current rig's specs, thoroughly depressing. Curse you for breaking my delusion that my PC was adequate! I feel an overwhelming urge to upgrade coming on.....
    3
  • micky_lund
    haha...the i5s so close to the i7 in everything :D....such as an awesome buy for gaming, on the intel side at least
    6
  • Lewis57
    A great article. I'm impressed with the I5 in all these charts. It would of been nice to use something a bit beefier than the i7-920 to see if that itself is causing a bottle neck.
    0
  • gti88
    Wolfdale will still be a decent CPU until 2012, I guess.
    0
  • bikermicefrmars
    Where's i3, please include it in tests with same clock speed as E8400 and show its performance!
    0
  • kartu
    5770 wasn't even considered? :(
    8
  • Anonymous
    I am very suprised that the quad core processors seem to give better results with the 5870. I wonder why that is. I still have my Q6600 OC'ed to 3.2...I was thinking that I should upgrade to teh i5 750...but after seeing this article...I am struggling to find a reason.....well unless I have a lot of money for a dual GPU card.....NOT.....;(
    0
  • Anonymous
    Its total nonsense, buying pc for gaming today. I have Xbox360 and PS3 + Nintendo DS and also QuadCore based gaming PC. I dont play on PC anymore, im only using it for browsing, listening music and communicating with others. Netbook should be totally sufficient for such task, i will never buy PC for gaming in future. GO and buy gaming console, if you have good TV, and you will be sitting around 2 - 2,5 meters from screen, graphics is pretty good - totally sufficient.
    -18
  • builderbobftw
    Quote:
    Its total nonsense, buying pc for gaming today. I have Xbox360 and PS3 + Nintendo DS and also QuadCore based gaming PC. I dont play on PC anymore, im only using it for browsing, listening music and communicating with others. Netbook should be totally sufficient for such task, i will never buy PC for gaming in future. GO and buy gaming console, if you have good TV, and you will be sitting around 2 - 2,5 meters from screen, graphics is pretty good - totally sufficient.


    if the diffrence bewteen console and PC isn't night and day, you must be using a 5450.
    14
  • JohnnyLucky
    Looking forward to reading the next article in the series.
    1
  • shin0bi272
    so you guys claim we should be looking to buy a 285 (dx10 card) and a core2 duo 8400 (socket 775)? Exactly what are you smoking? yeah here go buy this 1982 ford mustang... its a mustang for crying out loud... its just the WORST mustang ever made. And its old technology so you could do a lot better by buying a newer one that will last longer and have better technology.
    -5