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Just Cause 2

The Game Rundown: Finding CPU/GPU Bottlenecks, Part 2

All test results are presented in two different charts. The first shows CPU and GPU utilization as percentages. The second lists GPU performance with the number of active CPU cores. The results are not sorted, and the order remains the same throughout the article. We start with Intel's Core i5 CPU with one active core (black bar), followed by the GeForce GTX 460 GPU (green bar), and work our way up to the overclocked quad-core configuration, just as before. In each case, the number of bars corresponds to CPU cores, and average utilization is shown as a percentage value.

One more word about CPU performance: the load may be divided between several cores in a number of these benchmarks, but the only relevant thing to notice is the level of utilization. Just because the load is distributed between all four cores does not mean that the game fully supports multi-core CPUs. Ideally, all cores would then be utilized at close to 100 percent. Load distribution and management eats some CPU power. You'll be able to see quite clearly when all four cores are really fully utilized in a game like Grand Theft Auto 4.

In the second chart below, you see the frame rates of our different CPU and GPU combinations. Just Cause 2 suffers from rather low frame rates in general, and by looking at the utilization numbers, it's hard to grasp exactly what might be causing the bottlenecks. The graphics card seems to be the most definitive limiting factor, reaching at least 92% utilization in all different CPU/GPU combinations.

According to the test results, a dual-core CPU should deliver better frame rates, as the single-core CPU is fully utilized in this game. But despite the dual-core CPU having a much higher utilization (more processor work getting done should lead to higher frame rates) there is no visible effect on performance numbers.

Despite running with 8xAA, just 573 MB of graphics memory is used. This doesn't seem to be a CPU-limited game, so we would recommend going with a dual-core CPU, then upgrading the graphics card for better frame rates.

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