Game-Off: Seven Sub-$150 Processors Compared

Benchmark Results: Crysis

Crysis is our first game benchmark. Let's see if the results correspond to the expectations set by the 3DMark results:

We're seeing a very close correlation with the 3DMark results, indeed. The first thing we notice is that the Athlon II X3 445 provides excellent relative gaming performance for under $100. It easily beats out the dual-core Athlon II X2 260 and Pentium G6950 and essentially achieves performance parity with the quad-core Athlon II X4 640. Even at 1920x1080, the minimum frame rate is very close to 30 FPS and the average frame rate is a playable 45 FPS.

The next processor of interest is the Core i3-530. Now that this processor has dropped in price to $115, it has become quite attractive and bests the marginally more expensive quad-core Athlon II X4 640 in this benchmark. The Core i3-530 even comes close to performing at the same level as the Phenom II X4 940/945.

Speaking of the Phenom II X4 940/945, this benchmark shows us the benefits of its 6MB of L3 cache. Since the Athlon II X4 640 is essentially a Phenom II X4 945 stripped of its L3 cache—running at the same clock speed with the same multiplier—the performance difference is totally attributable to the Phenom II's cache.

Finally, the Core i3-540 doesn't appear all that impressive next to its much cheaper Core i3-530 brethren. Offering a measly 133 MHz increase, the Core i3-540 doesn't impress compared to the Core i3-530 and Phenom II X4 940/945.

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  • AMD is really improving. I'm waiting for them to manufacture 32nm CPUs like Intel :)
    29
  • I am glad an RTS was used in this benchmark. More CPU heavy games should be included in the benchmark for Processor benchmarking.

    With that said, there was a mention that the 6MB L3 cache may have helped the Phenom II X4 945, I wonder what would happen with a Phenom II X2 or X3 by comparison if this actually makes a significant impact. It could prove there is a significant advantage to cheaper AMD CPUs then the Athlon IIs in this benchmark.
    24
  • Interesting article-it clearly shows the advantage of having four physical cores of the Athlon II and the Phenom II X4s over the hyper-threaded Core i3s in real-world situations.No doubt that this article will benefit people who want the perfect processor for their money at this price range
    23
  • Other Comments
  • AMD is really improving. I'm waiting for them to manufacture 32nm CPUs like Intel :)
    29
  • Interesting article-it clearly shows the advantage of having four physical cores of the Athlon II and the Phenom II X4s over the hyper-threaded Core i3s in real-world situations.No doubt that this article will benefit people who want the perfect processor for their money at this price range
    23
  • I am glad an RTS was used in this benchmark. More CPU heavy games should be included in the benchmark for Processor benchmarking.

    With that said, there was a mention that the 6MB L3 cache may have helped the Phenom II X4 945, I wonder what would happen with a Phenom II X2 or X3 by comparison if this actually makes a significant impact. It could prove there is a significant advantage to cheaper AMD CPUs then the Athlon IIs in this benchmark.
    24
  • Found a typo on the chart, I don't see why you would compare the Intel i3-530 against itself. :P
    10
  • AMD - bang for the buck, Intel - bling for the buck.
    23
  • qvasi_modoAMD - bang for the buck, Intel - bling for the buck.

    Uptil a certain price range.
    13
  • It is time for me to dust of my old am2+ computer and put a new amd proc in it and give it a new life.
    8
  • DemonslayFound a typo on the chart, I don't see why you would compare the Intel i3-530 against itself.


    Thx, fixed!
    7
  • i like the performance of i3-530......................
    -10
  • Tamz_mscInteresting article-it clearly shows the advantage of having four physical cores of the Athlon II and the Phenom II X4s over the hyper-threaded Core i3s in real-world situations.No doubt that this article will benefit people who want the perfect processor for their money at this price range



    sorry but i must disagree...

    the core i3 530 was 8% faster than the athlon X4 and costs $5 less
    its a great processor it seems, a nice change from intel. but i admit, my heart sunk after seeing amd's athlon X4 get beat. its like sports, i root for AMD

    please dont quote the multitasking benchmark as no sane person compresses stuff while gaming...
    yes the athlon would probably be better overall for most people, but not for gaming
    -19
  • Another very good article comparing lower cost CPUs for gaming. I especially liked the chart showing multi-tasking. I'm curious about the PhenomII x4 820 for $100 that showed up at newegg for a day or so and is now out of stock, i can't find any reviews of this stealth release.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103824
    6
  • AMD has it in this price range as usual... Still nice to see the x4 940 and x4 640 compared, I've been wondering how big a difference to expect from the additional cache. At least with the i3 530 intel has something to show here if you just game, but I'll take a true quad any day thanks :)
    6
  • 255121 said:
    sorry but i must disagree... the core i3 530 was 8% faster than the athlon X4 and costs $5 less its a great processor it seems, a nice change from intel. but i admit, my heart sunk after seeing amd's athlon X4 get beat. its like sports, i root for AMD please dont quote the multitasking benchmark as no sane person compresses stuff while gaming... yes the athlon would probably be better overall for most people, but not for gaming

    That is why I said real world situations.People use their PCs for stuff other than gaming in most of the part they are turned on.The AMD quad cores clearly have the edge with respect to overall performance.
    10
  • why is there no phenom II X2???

    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103680

    LoL currently unavailable.......
    -6
  • I guess this is a symbolic article where-in Toms is also telling us that we have to all eventually let go of those dusting core2 chips...

    Interesting that Aliens Vs Predator can be used as a true benchmark between GPUs and in DX11 games since the CPU differences wont really matter. One question, what if these chips were compared to a Phenom X6 or even a core i7 1366 socket chip? If not, then one can truly compare the 5870 vs the gtx480 head to head.
    4
  • luke904sorry but i must disagree...the core i3 530 was 8% faster than the athlon X4 and costs $5 lessits a great processor it seems, a nice change from intel. but i admit, my heart sunk after seeing amd's athlon X4 get beat. its like sports, i root for AMDplease dont quote the multitasking benchmark as no sane person compresses stuff while gaming...yes the athlon would probably be better overall for most people, but not for gaming


    still, AMD's Phenom II X4 beats the cr*p out of the i3 and that for about 20 dollars more, so i do think AMD's quad cores are the best performers here.
    -5
  • Also in the Athlon II x3 article all the games weren't set on highest graphics settings - Only set on "high" (not highest / ultra etc.) and with AA / AF disabled, which, despite the high resolution, gave the 5870 lots of room to breathe and demonstrated the cpu bottleneck. Why would anyone want to get the 5870 and not crank all the eye candy up is beyond me. I understand that the article was trying to get the point (and point taken) but I'm sure lots of people were fooled to think that they'll actually see that much more performance if they get the i7-920 while they didn't realize that it was only for educational reasons (because it wasn't said in the article). Too bad :)
    -4
  • This shows how AMD rules the budget segment with their offerings. But if you analyze the Intel chips included, clearly Intel has the advantage of per core performance since only their dual cores are present in this event (because the other chips with more cores are quite expensive).

    Indeed, gaming on lower resolutions tend to depend not only on GPU but also to the CPU. This is where CPU has the most noticeable effects on gaming performance.
    -8
  • Don't forget that Intel's higher clock efficiency and SMT (HyperThreading) is probably the reason that their cpus are more expensive. You also pay more for the igp embedded inside the i3's. So if you're on a budget you should ask yourself, do you want a clock efficient, multitask un-efficient, relatively expensive core i3, or a less efficient but with a higher core count athlon / phenom II.. That's the whole deal my friends
    -11
  • Why not x2 555???
    19