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Do CPU Frequency And Core Count Matter?

Guild Wars 2: Your Graphics Card And CPU Performance Guide
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We now know how a number of different graphics cards handle Guild Wars 2's various detail presets complemented by a fairly capable platform. But what happens when we pull the rug out from under the GPU with varied processor settings? 

Using a trio of processor architectures (Intel's Sandy Bridge, AMD's Bulldozer, and a Llano-based APU) we isolated clock rate with quad-core configurations.

Sandy Bridge proves itself over and over in gaming workloads. Here, it's able to let our Radeon HD 7970 stretch its legs even at 3 GHz. Overclocking to 4 GHz yields very little extra performance.

AMD's dual-module FX-4000-series demonstrates a colossal gain between 3 and 4 GHz, though, telling us that the processor is bottlenecking performance in a big way at lower frequencies.

Pushing the Llano-based APU up to 3 GHz (from 2 GHz) is less rewarding, though there is a speed-up to be had. (Ed.: Clearly, it appears that AMD's best shot at catching Sandy Bridge at 3 GHz is a quad-core Bulldozer-based chip at 5 GHz or so. Sorry, couldn't resist).

The next experiment involves altering each architecture to determine how many processing cores Guild Wars 2 is able to exploit. 

Four physical cores appear ideal, based on our results from the Sandy Bridge design. Sandy Bridge-E doesn't seem to introduce any benefit at all. Intel's dual-core, Hyper-Threaded Core i3 and dual-core Pentium are notably slower, though they still embarrass the eight-core AMD FX at 3 GHz. 

The six- and eight-core FX processors perform fairly similarly, while the quad-core FX-4000-series is quite a bit slower. Remember, though, that the eight-core chip actually consists of four Bulldozer modules. The six- and four-core parts feature three and two modules, respectively. Each module involves notable resource-sharing, which likely affects performance.

Three cores appear optimal on AMD's Llano-based APU. The fourth one yields very little performance gain. The dual-core Llano demonstrates the lowest results in this test.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    tomfreak , August 27, 2012 6:05 AM
    Guild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.
  • 12 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:43 AM
    Interesting. The less-than-$100-without-external-power-connector Radeon 7750 is a balance card providing appealing visual while still runs good framerates at 1080p. I imagined if you tinker with the Best Appearance preset a little bit you can get better image quality without framerates dropping below 30. I mean let's face it, who plays on their PC without tinkering the settings here and there, that's just stupid.

    Great review as always! Really appreciate it
  • 11 Hide
    alidan , August 27, 2012 7:12 AM
    i have a question...

    intel has moved on from their core2 line, and came out with higher preforming parts, amd has moved from athlon and phenom line to... a new architecture, i dont know if they match the old one yet or not.

    but when you are doing a cpu test on a game like this where its very scaleable, it would be nice to see the core 2 dual and quad, also a phenom dual tri and quad core (from what i understand athlon and phenom for most gaming scenarios are the same) because many of us have the old dual core, and quad core cpus, and dont feel the need to upgrade because its just not nessassary for normal computer use yet.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    cmcghee358 , August 27, 2012 5:23 AM
    Hmm.. shame I can never touch an MMORPG ever again...
  • -8 Hide
    haplo602 , August 27, 2012 5:35 AM
    get your graphs and test setup to match:

    Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
    Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5

    where's the 6850 in the graphs ? There's a 6870 instead ...
  • 11 Hide
    rdc85 , August 27, 2012 5:37 AM
    I'm wonder how my pII x4 955BE will perform, there none in the chart...

    Anyone know? at stock speed and at 3.8 O.C....
  • 12 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:43 AM
    Interesting. The less-than-$100-without-external-power-connector Radeon 7750 is a balance card providing appealing visual while still runs good framerates at 1080p. I imagined if you tinker with the Best Appearance preset a little bit you can get better image quality without framerates dropping below 30. I mean let's face it, who plays on their PC without tinkering the settings here and there, that's just stupid.

    Great review as always! Really appreciate it
  • 2 Hide
    stingstang , August 27, 2012 5:46 AM
    I'm disappointed that this neglects the post processing bar when determining if the best appearance setting is enabled when taking in to account processing ability. I have an fx4100 and an hd 7950. How will that do at high grahhics settings?
    Duh, we want to know this stuff.
  • 3 Hide
    EzioAs , August 27, 2012 5:49 AM
    Quote:
    get your graphs and test setup to match:

    Radeon HD 6450 512 MB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6670 512 MB DDR3
    Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7870 2 GB GDDR5
    Radeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5

    where's the 6850 in the graphs ? There's a 6870 instead ...


    Although it's probably a typo, there's probably no need to use the 6850 as well since the 7770 should perform similar
  • 0 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 5:54 AM
    Now I wonder where some people got the idea that GW2 was nvidia favored O_o
  • 3 Hide
    dormantreign , August 27, 2012 6:00 AM
    You gots me wanting to buy this game......
  • 5 Hide
    serhat359 , August 27, 2012 6:01 AM
    stingstangI'm disappointed that this neglects the post processing bar when determining if the best appearance setting is enabled when taking in to account processing ability. I have an fx4100 and an hd 7950. How will that do at high grahhics settings?Duh, we want to know this stuff.

    It will be cpu limited, you'll get around 35-40fps
  • 13 Hide
    tomfreak , August 27, 2012 6:05 AM
    Guild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.
  • 1 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:11 AM
    TomfreakGuild wars 2 min system requirements is Core 2 Duo 2.0 Geforce 7800, I would like u to test base on that too.

    gpu wise, the gt version of the 7800 will perform about the same level as the 6450 in question. a low end core 2 duo will be on the lower end of the cpu chart.
  • 0 Hide
    burmese_dude , August 27, 2012 6:14 AM
    Playing mine on EVGA GTX 570 SC... everything runs smoothly. The game is absolutely great. I was a 50/50 member of GW1 and I was hoping GW2 wouldn't disappoint. GW2 truly delivers fun experience and entertainment without having to shell out 10 or 15 monthly. My gaming laptop with GT 650M with output to 1080p display to a TV also performed smoothly in medium setting. I haven't tried max setting though on that.

  • 2 Hide
    falchard , August 27, 2012 6:14 AM
    Ugh really hate developers who do that. Its not just low performance with the Bulldozer cores. Its almost purpostantial performance loss, or a big error in coding. Heard that sometimes with Bulldozer everything gets piled onto 1 core like the engine has no idea what to do with the architecture.
    Also DX9, are they serious? THIS IS 2012. DX10 is 6 years old. Get with it already and learn to code a game engine. Its not like this is a multi-platform game.
  • 6 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:25 AM
    burmese_dudePlaying mine on EVGA GTX 570 SC... everything runs smoothly. The game is absolutely great. I was a 50/50 member of GW1 and I was hoping GW2 wouldn't disappoint. GW2 truly delivers fun experience and entertainment without having to shell out 10 or 15 monthly. My gaming laptop with GT 650M with output to 1080p display to a TV also performed smoothly in medium setting. I haven't tried max setting though on that.


    the 650m will perform similarish to the 7750 in question

    falchardUgh really hate developers who do that. Its not just low performance with the Bulldozer cores. Its almost purpostantial performance loss, or a big error in coding. Heard that sometimes with Bulldozer everything gets piled onto 1 core like the engine has no idea what to do with the architecture.Also DX9, are they serious? THIS IS 2012. DX10 is 6 years old. Get with it already and learn to code a game engine. Its not like this is a multi-platform game.


    being dx9, it allows users who still use windows XP to play without someone creating a mod or use the directx hack to force xp to run it. I mean skyrim also runs on DX9
  • 8 Hide
    dudewitbow , August 27, 2012 6:32 AM
    amuffinA dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!

    Thats why I really hope that piledriver/steamroller pulls through.
  • 3 Hide
    amuffin , August 27, 2012 6:33 AM
    A dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!
  • 7 Hide
    Cryio , August 27, 2012 7:00 AM
    You tested the game only in DirectX 9. Where is DirectX10 and 11? Or aren't they implemented yet (post-release patch)?
  • 8 Hide
    Cryio , August 27, 2012 7:09 AM
    Quote:
    A dual core SB pentium outperforming an 8 core FX.........ROFL!


    That really makes you wander, if games/programs really know to put Bulldozer to work. I think it just sits there, idling at least 50% of processor raw power.
  • 11 Hide
    alidan , August 27, 2012 7:12 AM
    i have a question...

    intel has moved on from their core2 line, and came out with higher preforming parts, amd has moved from athlon and phenom line to... a new architecture, i dont know if they match the old one yet or not.

    but when you are doing a cpu test on a game like this where its very scaleable, it would be nice to see the core 2 dual and quad, also a phenom dual tri and quad core (from what i understand athlon and phenom for most gaming scenarios are the same) because many of us have the old dual core, and quad core cpus, and dont feel the need to upgrade because its just not nessassary for normal computer use yet.
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