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Can Your Old Athlon 64 Still Game?

Game Benchmarks: NFS: Carbon

This edition of the Need for Speed series was released at the end of October 2006 and it took the ATI Radeon X1900-series graphics cards to run it well with all options, such as motion blur, turned up. We use Fraps to record frame rates of a two lap race of Salizar Street. All details were set to the maximum including motion blur, and we tested in the swingman view, which seems to be the most demanding. All tests were run three times with consistent results, and the median performance numbers are used for the charts.

In Need for Speed Carbon, we again see no benefit from having a dual-core processor. At lower resolutions, the A64 4000+ was able to outpace the X2 4200+ in both minimum and average FPS and the high-clocked X2 5600+ was out in the lead by a good margin. Once we hit 1600x1200, things became GPU limited and all three processors offered about the same performance and smooth game play.

Enabling 4xAA, we put more demand on the GPU. We see the same overall order in performance with the three CPUs, but with closer results at 1280x1024 this time, but again as we turned up the resolution, all three CPUs provided about the same game play performance. Our stock-clocked XFX 8800 GS was no longer able to stay above 30 FPS during the whole race at 1600x1200 as we experienced a minimum of 26-27 FPS with each CPU. But while some slowdowns were noticeable, it was easily playable and lap times were not affected.

  • Schip
    FIRST POST!!! Nice Article though. I knew my brother would soon be doomed with his P4 2.8c ;)
    Reply
  • "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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Surprisingly, you can actually do fairly well. Of course, it depends on the app...
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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!!
    Reply