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Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.K.L.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat

System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $1,000 Enthusiast PC

DiRT2 appears CPU-limited where the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system achieves virtual parity with the stock Core i7-920 build. The stock Phenom II X3 720 numbers are playable, but with 8x anti-aliasing (AA) enabled, the $1,000 system has a little trouble at higher resolutions.

As mentioned in our system assembly notes, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat refused to run properly on our $1,000 system when CrossFire was enabled, forcing us to physically remove the second card to achieve smooth performance. This is disturbing because we've run this benchmark in CrossFire mode on many configurations and haven't seen this behavior.

The likely culprit, specifically, is the Gigabyte Radeon HD 5830 cards, a relatively new model that the Catalyst 10.4 drivers refused to acknowledge at all. The Catalyst 10.5 drivers would work, but CrossFire continued to give us problems.

While unfortunate, the results show us how GPU-dependent this title is. Where we've seen performance parity compared to the stock Core i7-920 system in other games, the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system can't even reach half the performance of the stock Core i7-920 in most of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat results.

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