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StarCraft II Beta: Game Performance Analyzed

Benchmark Results: CPU Performance

We've seen that StarCraft II is a CPU-limited title at the medium detail setting, so just how much CPU do you need to run the game comfortably? Let's start with some CPU-speed benchmarks.

Clearly, the game's performance is tied closely to clock speed. Having said that, playable performance can be achieved even at 2 GHz on a Phenom II X4 CPU, with a minimum frame rate of just under 20 FPS. Let's see if the number of CPU cores has much of an impact on performance.

The number of CPU cores has less of an effect than clock rate, although there is a clear performance deficit once a single CPU core is used.

From these numbers, it looks like you'd want to run at least a dual-core CPU above 2.0 GHz to play StarCraft II. For smoother gameplay, a dual-core over 2.5 GHz should be enough to do the trick. Admittedly, playing against multiple difficult AI opponents might be a little more taxing on the CPU than our benchmark, so if you're upgrading with StarCraft II in mind, we'd recommend the higher end of this spectrum. A triple-core CPU at 2.8 GHz or more should be able to provide all the performance you'd want for StarCraft II.

  • bmadd
    no GTX480/470??
    Reply
  • LLJones
    Nice review, never played the original, will have to give this a try. I'm tired of run and gun.

    A small request. Would you be so kind as to include a 4 series Radeon in your next review? Maybe a 4870 or 90. I know that my CF/OC 4770's give me 4890ish performance, but have no idea where this is in 5 series.

    As you used older Nv cards, I will guess that the game is DX11 but DX10(.1) playable.

    With a little luck, a few months from now, I will only need to look at the 5 series charts.
    Reply
  • Gin Fushicho
    unnn. I wanna play this game, now I feel like your teasing me Tom's.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    "For example, Terran Wraiths are gone and there are no more Terran air units that can cloak"
    banshees yo...
    Reply
  • patdohere
    Cool, so one question. When does starcraft 2 come out?
    Reply
  • Ragnar-Kon
    lljonesWould you be so kind as to include a 4 series Radeon in your next review? Maybe a 4870 or 90.
    I have a Radeon HD 4870, and my performance on the Starcraft 2 beta is about the same (usually better) as my roommate, who has 5770. When I'm looking at the FPS it usually sits around the 78fps mark. I couldn't tell you during an intense battle because... well... I'm not looking at the FPS meter. In general, our cards performs about the same in most games we play. The rest of our systems are also comparable, with the exception that he has a significantly faster hard drive than me, which usually only comes into effect on load times (he can load a Bad Company 2 map about 15 seconds before I can load mine).

    Of course our little benchmarking isn't as precise and Tom's is, but maybe that'll give you a starting point.
    Reply
  • Ragnar-Kon
    ragnar-konWhen I'm looking at the FPS it usually sits around the 78fps mark..
    This should be 48 fps, not 78. Damn lack of edit.
    Reply
  • drutort
    i would have hopped to see more scaling and not so much cpu dependent oh well... also the multi core code hope that will improve cause everyone will soon have 3-6 cores... and if only 2 cores are giving you any advantage i hope they optimize it at least down the road
    Reply
  • Lessqqmorepewpew
    why does fps cap seem so low?
    Reply
  • deividast
    I was dissapointed that there were no GTX470/480, since i'm planning on buying them :)
    Other thing that bothers me is a CPU :( i have Phenom x4 at 2,3ghz and as i see this game runs better on faster CPU's :(
    and man, i can't wait to get my hands on this game :D
    Reply