Who's Got Game? Twelve Sub-$200 CPUs Compared

Benchmark Results: Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 is another title with DirectX 11 features that typically tax graphics subsystems. But we've never really used it as a primary metric for comparing entry-level processors, either.

As it turns out, Just Cause 2 appears to be the first game in our suite that really takes advantage of a large cache. The Phenom II processors finally show a small (but consistent) advantage over the Sandy Bridge-based Core i3 models, with the Phenom II X4 970 achieving parity with the Core i5-2300. This game doesn’t seem to utilize more than three CPU cores, given that the Athlon II X3 455 achieves the same result as the Athlon II X4 645.

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  • Simulated CPU Chart: 3330 GHz

    o_O I'd like me one of those
  • alidan
    id just love to point out, i personally will never again make a mistake of getting a hyperthreaded cpu over real cores. i made that mistake once, and never again.

    a pc will never be gaming only, unless you have more than one, in that case, for for the cheaper dual core hyperthreaded, but if you do anything else, get a real quadcore and don't even take into consideration the logical cores.
  • lunyone
    I'm still thinking the AMD Athlon II x3's and x4's are the best buys around. If you take comparable configurations from AMD and Intel, AMD wins easily. Here is what I'm talking about below:

    AMD build w/AMD Athlon II x3 455 w/Asus 870 based mobo:
    $89 for Athlon II x3 455
    $90 for AMD mobo (Asus) w/6xSATA 3, 6 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 4 x DDR3 slots.
    ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD Motherboard

    Intel build w/i3 550 w/P55 based mobo (Asus also):
    $130 i3 550
    $150-$10 MIRc Comparable mobo (Asus also) 6xSATA 3, 6 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 4 DDR3 slots.
    ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    **These are all Newegg prices**
    AMD build (using the same Case/PSU/RAM/DVD parts in both systems)
    $179 + shared parts.

    Intel build (same parts shared w/AMD build)
    $280 + shared parts.

    This equals out to ~$100 price difference between the 2 builds, which to me is quite a bit!

    So in general when trying to factor in "Value" for the gaming buck I still see the AMD based system being the better buy. Assuming your using mobo's with about the same features. If you notice the Intel based mobo's will cost you more for similar AMD based mobo's. This is where a lot of the value comes from AMD. Don't get me wrong here, the Intel based system is very good system too, you just have to pay more for them.
  • amirp

    Yes the amd build is pretty cheap, but swap you're i3 550 with the i3 2100 and the p55 mobo with the p67 mobo, and you have a build that is now worth the $100 over the amd build
  • amirp
    sorry I meant to add, the drawback is waiting for the SB mobo's to arrive

    also I think this conclusion summarizes well AMD's predicament in a months time:
    "the Core i3-2100 performs as well as (or slightly better than) AMD's Phenom II X4 970 flagship."
  • dco
    Up until now, AMD's Pentium II X4

    I almost missed this typo an AMD pentium hmmm something seems wrong.
  • So what everyone is saying is - AMD's old technology is getting beat by Intel's newest? This is to be expected.

    If the point is that Intel has the best budget system at the current prices - then yes, the point is made. But it looks more like you're trying to prove Intel is better just before AMD launches a new generation of CPU's. While I can't speak for anyone else, I'm at least going to give their next generation a chance.
  • kashifme21
    Why even bother upgrading when most games are console ports, and dont need more then 3-4 yr old hardware to run maxed out?

    Certainly no one needs quad cores for web browsing and word lol.
  • hardcore_gamer
    Don't forget the fact that these sandy-bridge CPUS can not be overclocked
  • iam2thecrowe
    id like to see a core 2 duo comparison to the new cpu's. Everyone says they are old and slow, but in reality they are similar to an i3 without hyperthreading.
  • dco
    So glad you did the bench's in 1920x1080 instead setting the resolution really low to make the differences more prominent. Much more realistic and usable as a real world benchmark. good read.
  • haplo602
    what are you guys at Tom's smoking lately ?

    quote from the conclusion page:
    "Because our charts are arranged in order of processor price, with the most expensive at the top and the least expensive at the bottom,"

    but the first page shows the X6 being the most expensive CPU !!!

    Also I miss the price/performance graph:

    X3 455 = 88.99USD
    i5 2400 = 189.99USD

    from the average game performance graph:

    i5 2400 offers 148% of X3 455 performance but it is priced at 213% of the X3 455 !!!

    how about graphing the performance progression and cost progression in one graph to actualy see the best value for money ? the last graph only focuses on relative performance but price increase is not considered (at least only in the relative more/less expensive way).
  • haplo602
    oh yes one more thing. missing out on lga775 is a huge mistake. this way people have to run through several benchmarks to establish their still working rigs relative performance to the SB ships.

    and ... do NOT test HT on I/O intensive workloads (winrar). run something like super pi or a physics simulation on the CPU. I/O limited workloads are the most favorable HT scenario.
  • Bigmac80
    To bad they didn't add the i5 2500k since it's only $199.99 at microcenter..
  • joytech22
    Good to see Intel making great progress in the budget market.
    But they still have nothing to combat AMD's APU + GPU combo.

    Wait yes they do, i3..

    I wonder if AMD's planning to go out in a bombshell..
    Or will they make a comeback to remember them by?
  • Im not agree with you Toms Hardware. There is a lot of difference btw Intel and AMD cpus in blizzard games because in those games GPU isnt the cap. And Intel is way faster than AMD...

    Its stupid compare CPUs in games where the graphic card scores under 50pfs...
  • jj463rd
    I think AMD needs to lower their prices again.Comparing to the Phenom II X4 955 BE with the i3-2100 on your conclusion chart the Phenom II X4 955 BE should be priced at $115 to $125 to be competitive.Of course AMD will have a couple months until their new CPU line comes out though so they do have some time.
  • SpadeM
    In Europe the price difference between 2300 and 2400 is around 4$ in some markets so even better :P. I do have a request though, could you switch from winrar to 7zip for multitasking testing on future reviews? All in all, it's nice to see where things stand at now, even though only AMD is available on the market till ... april or may.
  • rambostyrer
    Nice article there.

    would have been interesting to see some overclocked benchmark though, to see how the unlocked muliplyer of the Phenoms would do against Sandy bridge with no unlocked muliplyer.

    And I know it's an older game, but GTA has the reputation of being a real cpu killer, so would have been interesting with that ass well.

    And what did i learn? that my next cpu, will be a Phenom II 955, an upgrade from my current Athlon II 445.
  • darkchazz
    Wait for bulldozer , then compare it with SB :/
  • masterofevil22
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it much more difficult or impossible to OC the 2300/2400??

    Why not do a max OC comparison of these CPU's?? Especially given that at this price range most people who are buying these chips for their own rigs are trying to maximize their dollar and are probably at least considering doing so.

    Too many "simulated" cpu's??
  • digiex
    In the last graph, I really like if it was sorted from highest to lowest and see all the Intel processors on the top.
  • andy5174
    masterofevil22Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it much more difficult or impossible to OC the 2300/2400?? Why not do a max OC comparison of these CPU's?? Especially given that at this price range most people who are buying these chips for their own rigs are trying to maximize their dollar and are probably at least considering doing so. Too many "simulated" cpu's??

    Amd supporters are finally willing to talk about OCed performance considering non-K SandyBridge is not OCable.

    How about paying $15 dollars more for the 2500K and OCed it to 4.4GHz? 2500K can achieve 4.4GHz easily with stock cooler which gives you a lot more performance without requiring paying extra cost ($80+) for a high end cooler. You will then end up with a much better performance for less cost than the PII-X6@4GHz+high end cooler.
  • Communism
    All the non-overclockable SB procs are failures to anyone not running so-called "mission critical" things on their comps.

    My old ass E4300 (which I got at the time for CHEAPER than the current SB procs) OCed to 3.5 ghz trashes the dual-core SB procs that can't overclock

    Outside those who are willing to spend money on the SB mobos and are in the price range ($250 ish) for the 2500k/2600k, SB is completely pointless for overclockers of any stripe.

    Since the AMD chips atm are still complete failures, people like me who are stuck with OCed core 2 duos and core 2 quads have nothing to look forward to in affordable high performance procs that are worth upgrading to until Bulldozer from the looks of it.