Can Your Old Athlon 64 Still Game?

Game Benchmarks: Crysis

Also released in November 2007, Crysis is one of the most hardware demanding games currently available. Even very high-end GPUs can be brought to a crawl if trying to play Crysis in DX10 at high resolutions. We take a look at both the CPU and GPU benchmarks included with the game, which readers at home can try on their own systems. While our performance numbers in these demos will not equal actual game play, they will place demands on both the GPU and CPU and give an idea of how these CPUs do keeping up with the 8800 GS. But it’s good to keep in mind that lower performance may be seen while gaming. We look at both all medium and all high settings with 16xAF.

As seen in CoD4, the single-core A64 4000+ is struggling with this new title. It was unable to average 30 FPS at any resolution, which was almost as low as the minimum FPS on the dual-core CPUs. Clearly medium settings, especially the physics effects, are too much for the single-core CPU.

The GPU benchmark is a flyby. Without the demands of a destructible environment and physics effects, we see that the single-core CPU is able to stay fairly close to the X2 4200+. As the resolution is raised, we see little drop in performance until 1600x1200, so the CPU is still limiting performance at the lower resolutions in the GPU benchmark. The X2 5600+ is able to put up much better numbers than the other two CPUs.

Enabling high details, we now see the X2 4200+ fall back compared to the X2 5600+ with its clock speed and L2 cache advantage. By the time we hit 1600x1200, the 8800 GS is not able to keep up and we see about equal performance with both dual-core CPUs. And as no surprise, the added demands of high details are too much for the single-core CPU.

At high details in the GPU test, the X2 5600+ is again able to provide the best low-resolution performance with the X2 4200+, barely averaging 30 FPS at 1024x768. The 8800 GS is hurting as we raise the resolution, and we see at stock speeds performance is well under 30 FPS at 1280x1024. It takes a hefty GPU to handle 1600x1200 high resolution and our 8800 GS is far from capable at these settings. Enabling FSAA would be pointless to try with this card, and better left to a card like the GTX 280, HD 4870x2, or an SLI/CrossFire solution.

In Crysis, gamers on a single-core processor may find they need to reduce physics effects all the way to low, which greatly impacts the fun and wow-factor of the game. While we could have used a more powerful GPU to handle the higher resolutions and high details, it’s still easy to see that Crysis demands a hefty CPU to get the best game play. Single-core CPU owners are out of luck, and lower-clocked dual-core CPU owners may want to look into overclocking for this game. Performance and limiting factors will vary by level, so don’t be surprised if settings need to be further turned down as the game progresses.

  • Schip
    FIRST POST!!! Nice Article though. I knew my brother would soon be doomed with his P4 2.8c ;)
  • "AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 + dual-core, which has a 2.2 GHz Manchester architecture with 512 MB L2 cache per core."
    oau! that's a lot of cache :D
  • neiroatopelcc
    I haven't read the actual article yet, but I bet the simple answer is no!
    I've got a backup gaming rig at home that barely cuts it. An x2 1.9ghz (oc'ed to 2.4) with an 8800gtx and 3gb memory. That rig struggles at 1280x1024 in some situations, and it can only be attributed to the cpu really.
  • bf2gameplaya
    2.8GHz Opteron 185 (up from 2.6GHz) with 2x1MB L2 cache is the ultimate s939 CPU....blows these weak benchmarks away.

    Who would have thought DDR would have such durability? There's something to be said for CAS2!
  • cangelini
    Surprisingly, you can actually do fairly well. Of course, it depends on the app...
  • neiroatopelcc
    But your opteron cpu still limits the modern graphics cards.
    Two years back I bought my 8800gtx, and realized it wouldn't come to its full potential in my opteron 170 (@ 2.7). A friend with another gtx paired with an e6400 chip (@ 3ghz) scored a full 30% higher in 3dmark than I, and it showed in games. Even in wow where you'd expect a casio calculator would deliver enough graphics power.

    In short - ye ddr still work if you've got enthusiast parts, but that can't negate the effect a faster cpu would give. At least at decent resolutions (22" wide)
  • dirtmountain
    This is a great article! It will give me something to show when i'm talking to people about a new system or just a GPU/PSU upgrade. Great job by Henningsen.
  • NoIncentive
    I'm still using a P4 3.0 @ 3.4 with 1 GB DDR 400 and an nVidia 6800GT...

    I'm building a new computer next week.
  • randomizer
    I can echo the findings in Crysis. It didn't matter what settings I ran with a 3700 Sandy and an X1950 pro, the framerate was almost the same (albeit low 20s because the card is slower). Added an E6600 to the mix and my framerate tripled at lower settings.

    It would have been interesting to see how a 3000+ Clawhammer (C0 stepping) would do in Crysis. Single-channel memory, poor overclocking capabilities... FAIL!
  • ravenware
    bf2gameplaya2.8GHz Opteron 185 (up from 2.6GHz) with 2x1MB L2 cache is the ultimate s939 CPU....blows these weak benchmarks away.Who would have thought DDR would have such durability? There's something to be said for CAS2!
    Thia ia true about the DDR. I recall an article on toms right after the release of the AM2 socket which tested identical dual core processors against their 939 counterparts; the tests showed little to no performance gains.

    Great article, their has been some discussion about this in the forums as well.

    I currently own a 939 4200+ x2 that's paired with a 7800GT; and this article shows what I thought to be accurate about the AMD64 chips. Their not as fast as some of the C2D's but they still kick ass.

    Good job pointing out the single core factor in newer games too. As soon as the crysis demo was released I upgraded my San Diego core to a dual core and noticed the difference in crysis immediately.

    This article gives me further confidence in my decision to hold on upgrading my system. I want to hold out for Windows7 D3D11 and more money to build an ape sh** machine :D

    Nice article!!