Gaming Shoot-Out: 18 CPUs And APUs Under $200, Benchmarked

Results: StarCraft II

StarCraft II is one of those titles that consistently shows Intel's CPUs in the lead. We've already seen a number of significant changes from our previous look at sub-$200 processors, though. Might a string of patches, including a post-processing anti-aliasing option, alter the outcome today?

Intel continues to dominate in StarCraft. But its Pentium G860 no longer embarrasses the competition from AMD like it did last year. In fact, it's now in the lower third of our line-up.

Charting out frame rate over time shows how this test speeds up as the benchmark progresses. This is because our test starts with a large number of computer-controlled units. The demand on the system lessens as they are destroyed.

On average, we see high consecutive frame time differences. Given the demanding start to our test, though, and the frame rate increases that occur as the benchmark progresses, there's a good reason we'd see this happen. 

The Llano-based APUs and Athlon II X3 get hit the hardest.

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  • so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?

    what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?
    33
  • ingtar33so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?


    We absolutely did take latency into account in our conclusion.
    I think the problem is that you totally misunderstand the point of measuring latency, and the impact of the results. Please read page 2, and the commentary next to the charts.

    To summarize, latency is only relevant if it's significant enough to notice. If it's not significant (and really, it wasn't in any of the tests we took except maybe in some dual-core examples), then, obviously, the frame rate is the relevant measurement.

    *IF* the latency *WAS* horrible, say, with a high-FPS CPU, then in that case latency would be taken into account in the recommendations. But the latencies were very small, and so they don't really factor in much. Any CPUs that could handle at least four threads did great, the latencies are so imperceptible that they don't matter.
    31
  • Nice round up. It's nice to finally shine some light onto the new FX chips.
    25
  • Other Comments
  • Nice round up. It's nice to finally shine some light onto the new FX chips.
    25
  • Wow. Frame latencies are completely different than the results on the tech report. Weird.
    -3
  • so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?

    what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?
    33
  • I was hanging around on the site hoping this would finally get posted today. Looks like I got lucky. I'm definitely happy that newer titles are using more threads, which finally puts AMD back in the running in the budget range at least. Even APU's look like a better buy now, I can't wait to see some Richland and Kaveri APU tests. If one of them has a built in 7750 you could have a nice budget system, especially if you paired it with a discrete GPU for Crossfire.
    18
  • ingtar33so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?


    Nice observation. I was wondering the same thing. It's time you provide conclusion based upon what you intended to test and not otherwise. You could state the FPS part after the fact.
    9
  • I like this review.Its been a while now and at last we get to see some nicely rounded up benchmarks from Tom's.I wish the GPU or Game-specific benchmarks will be conducted in a similar fashion instead of stressing too much on bandwidth,AA or using settings that favor a particular company only.
    0
  • ingtar33so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?


    We absolutely did take latency into account in our conclusion.
    I think the problem is that you totally misunderstand the point of measuring latency, and the impact of the results. Please read page 2, and the commentary next to the charts.

    To summarize, latency is only relevant if it's significant enough to notice. If it's not significant (and really, it wasn't in any of the tests we took except maybe in some dual-core examples), then, obviously, the frame rate is the relevant measurement.

    *IF* the latency *WAS* horrible, say, with a high-FPS CPU, then in that case latency would be taken into account in the recommendations. But the latencies were very small, and so they don't really factor in much. Any CPUs that could handle at least four threads did great, the latencies are so imperceptible that they don't matter.
    31
  • esreverWow. Frame latencies are completely different than the results on the tech report. Weird.


    Not really. We just report them a little differently in an attempt to distill the result. Read page 2.
    22
  • Anik8.I wish the GPU or Game-specific benchmarks will be conducted in a similar fashion instead of stressing too much on bandwidth,AA or using settings that favor a particular company only.


    I'm not sure what you're referring to. When we test games, we use a number of different settings and resolutions.
    24
  • Well it is good to see AMD return to the game. I am an intel fan but with the recent update on the FX line up i have more options. Good work AMD
    12
  • hey don.. where's dota 2? :(
    -6
  • Hey Tom's, I think I may have found a bug with the new layout. Even though this article is stated to be "IN REVIEWS", it in fact doesn't appear on the "all reviews" page:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/articles/?articleType=review
    6
  • wh3resmycar said:
    hey don.. where's dota 2? :(


    It's coming. Lots of other stuff to do, but it's coming. :)
    8
  • Okay, But Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 costs 164 $. Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 - 399. Also RAM timings and speed prefers Intel... This benchmark is completely unaccurate. Also 8350 is cheaper than i5s.

    An exactly benchmarks or "benchmarks" like this one misleads most of the Intel's fun-boys.
    -20
  • Who would have thought? AMD's "MOAR CORES!" is actually paying off. :P
    18
  • BigMack70You know what I think this article shows more than anything? How freaking awesome the Phenom II x4 / x6 chips were for low-midrange builds for their time.


    Except they weren't cheap for their time.
    eg: 945 was $280 for its 1st year? :\

    Spend that now and what do you get?
    6
  • can't move my wallet without dota 2 numbers. just can't.

    but then again what's making AMD hard to swallow is the abysmal TDP ratings of their APUs. hopefully you guys can explicitly explain how an a8-5500 manages 65w while a a8-5600k pulls 100w with just a 300mhz difference?

    or with power constraints, what would be more effective? an ivy bridge celeron + 6670 or a6/a8 APU? apart from the usual load/idle, what about posting-in-a-forum-power-consumption?

    i would love to post my questions on the forums but i'm pretty sure the thread'll be just ravaged by fanboys or wouldn't get a pertinent answer.


    thanks!!!
    -6
  • Where would the Athlon II x4 750K be on that list?
    3
  • Isn't Intel G860 13-13-13 latencies a bit too relaxed? I'm sure 10-10-10 would be possible. Any explanation for this? Just curious.
    3
  • Nintendo Maniac 64Hey Tom's, I think I may have found a bug with the new layout. Even though this article is stated to be "IN REVIEWS", it in fact doesn't appear on the "all reviews" page:http://www.tomshardware.com/articl [...] ype=review

    Because there are so many products, this was defined as a round-up. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's currently possible to use both Reviews and Round-ups as filters at the same time. So, they don't show up together. I'm going to pass this feedback back to France to see if Round-ups can be folded into Reviews.
    5