StarCraft II Beta: Game Performance Analyzed

Benchmark Results: CPU Performance

We've seen that StarCraft II is a CPU-limited title at the medium detail setting, so just how much CPU do you need to run the game comfortably? Let's start with some CPU-speed benchmarks.

Clearly, the game's performance is tied closely to clock speed. Having said that, playable performance can be achieved even at 2 GHz on a Phenom II X4 CPU, with a minimum frame rate of just under 20 FPS. Let's see if the number of CPU cores has much of an impact on performance.

The number of CPU cores has less of an effect than clock rate, although there is a clear performance deficit once a single CPU core is used.

From these numbers, it looks like you'd want to run at least a dual-core CPU above 2.0 GHz to play StarCraft II. For smoother gameplay, a dual-core over 2.5 GHz should be enough to do the trick. Admittedly, playing against multiple difficult AI opponents might be a little more taxing on the CPU than our benchmark, so if you're upgrading with StarCraft II in mind, we'd recommend the higher end of this spectrum. A triple-core CPU at 2.8 GHz or more should be able to provide all the performance you'd want for StarCraft II.

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  • LLJones
    Nice review, never played the original, will have to give this a try. I'm tired of run and gun.

    A small request. Would you be so kind as to include a 4 series Radeon in your next review? Maybe a 4870 or 90. I know that my CF/OC 4770's give me 4890ish performance, but have no idea where this is in 5 series.

    As you used older Nv cards, I will guess that the game is DX11 but DX10(.1) playable.

    With a little luck, a few months from now, I will only need to look at the 5 series charts.
    18
  • JonnyDough
    lljonesNice review, never played the original...


    ...and....STOP. Are you serious? Git out!
    17
  • Other Comments
  • bmadd
    no GTX480/470??
    -11
  • LLJones
    Nice review, never played the original, will have to give this a try. I'm tired of run and gun.

    A small request. Would you be so kind as to include a 4 series Radeon in your next review? Maybe a 4870 or 90. I know that my CF/OC 4770's give me 4890ish performance, but have no idea where this is in 5 series.

    As you used older Nv cards, I will guess that the game is DX11 but DX10(.1) playable.

    With a little luck, a few months from now, I will only need to look at the 5 series charts.
    18
  • Gin Fushicho
    unnn. I wanna play this game, now I feel like your teasing me Tom's.
    4
  • IzzyCraft
    "For example, Terran Wraiths are gone and there are no more Terran air units that can cloak"
    banshees yo...
    7
  • patdohere
    Cool, so one question. When does starcraft 2 come out?
    7
  • Ragnar-Kon
    lljonesWould you be so kind as to include a 4 series Radeon in your next review? Maybe a 4870 or 90.


    I have a Radeon HD 4870, and my performance on the Starcraft 2 beta is about the same (usually better) as my roommate, who has 5770. When I'm looking at the FPS it usually sits around the 78fps mark. I couldn't tell you during an intense battle because... well... I'm not looking at the FPS meter. In general, our cards performs about the same in most games we play. The rest of our systems are also comparable, with the exception that he has a significantly faster hard drive than me, which usually only comes into effect on load times (he can load a Bad Company 2 map about 15 seconds before I can load mine).

    Of course our little benchmarking isn't as precise and Tom's is, but maybe that'll give you a starting point.
    9
  • Ragnar-Kon
    ragnar-konWhen I'm looking at the FPS it usually sits around the 78fps mark..


    This should be 48 fps, not 78. Damn lack of edit.
    1
  • drutort
    i would have hopped to see more scaling and not so much cpu dependent oh well... also the multi core code hope that will improve cause everyone will soon have 3-6 cores... and if only 2 cores are giving you any advantage i hope they optimize it at least down the road
    0
  • Lessqqmorepewpew
    why does fps cap seem so low?
    -2
  • deividast
    I was dissapointed that there were no GTX470/480, since i'm planning on buying them :)
    Other thing that bothers me is a CPU :( i have Phenom x4 at 2,3ghz and as i see this game runs better on faster CPU's :(
    and man, i can't wait to get my hands on this game :D
    -1
  • fragkrag
    Wow, I did not expect this. I actually made a thread on TeamLiquid.net about preparing computers for this game, but a 3.06GHz i7 and an ATi 5870 getting a lowly 46FPS @ 1920x1200? That's surprising to say the least. People on TL were reporting 50ish FPS at Ultra with ATi HD 5770s..

    It also conflicts (imo) with the LegionHardware benches from about 2 months ago..
    http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/starcraft_ii_wings_of_liberty_beta_performance,1.html
    4
  • haplo602
    hmm ... so clearly widescreen is an advantage in the game ...

    anyway I do not like the ground detail in the higher (med+) graphics settings. it looks very plastic and unnatural to me ... I guess for all the eye-candy, my most used setting will be low ...
    -4
  • fragkrag
    If the game is truly as CPU bound as these benchmarks suggest, what the hell is blizzard doing not making it multithreaded...
    8
  • cangelini
    bmaddno GTX480/470??


    I'd go so far as to suggest a 470 or 480 would be overkill for this, just as they'd be overkill for WoW.
    8
  • sinny1
    920 i7 @ 3.9 with 5870 @ ultra setting and 1080 res, i get around 150-200+fps even in crazy battles (from frap)

    p.s pre-order starcraft 2 at amazon or gamestop and get a beta keys (for those who want to play NOW!)
    0
  • CTPAHHIK
    Works fine with Agena 9600 + 9600GT (197.45) on ultra preset @ 1680x1050. Latest v10 patch (one with editor). Have not noticed any slowdowns during battles.

    Offline version is limited to 1 player and 3 AIs. Not sure how online game play would be - don't have a key. Maybe playing against 7 AIs will lag.
    0
  • amnotanoobie
    Lovely to see a title with proper level of detail at the medium setting. The lastest crop of games from the past years, usually looked like crud when you even get to medium settings.
    0
  • blacksci
    Im gonna agree with these other folks up above. Sure the 5770 is a lower newer card, but most of us are rockin older cards like the 4870. Why not review with some of those, instead of just givin a review with a new card that just came out a few months ago ? No offense inteded to Toms, i read the page everyday, but lets be more realistic here. Those cards just came out,a greater majority of your reader arent even using them yet.
    9
  • JonnyDough
    lljonesNice review, never played the original...


    ...and....STOP. Are you serious? Git out!
    17
  • listerd
    Hopefully they've gotten around to fixing that nastiness in Win7 so I don't have to leave my display settings window open in order to get the colors to display correctly like I have to do when playing the original StarCraft.

    Oh... and thank goodness for the widescreen options now!
    0