Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
At higher resolutions, frame rates in our Battlefield 3 single-player test sequence are typically limited by graphics hardware, and not by our choice of processor. To better correspond with the loads you experience in-game, we’re shooting for an average of about 45 frames per second as a reasonable target.
Of course, we aren't able to isolate every variable, since we switched graphics hardware and drivers from AMD to Nvidia. But there's evidence that the FX-6300 is limiting average frame rates at lower resolutions. The current PC only secures a single victory, at 4800x900, and only once we factor in overclocking.
Some data is missing for the $600 PC, which was tested prior to our adoption of two new resolutions. At 1920x1080, its Pitcairn-based Radeon HD 7850 is already dropping away from the pack at the Medium quality preset, but bounces back well when we overclock.
The GeForce GTX 760 shines under increased loads. Subsequently, at Ultra details, this quarter's rig holds a small lead through all resolutions.
While every one of these configurations is capable of 1920x1080, only our current machine, overclocked, survives through 4800x900. Last quarter’s overclocked Tahiti LE-based Radeon required a drop to 2x MSAA, where it mustered an average of 44.6 FPS.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
A lot of PC games still don't effectively utilize more than a couple of CPU cores, and Skyrim is one of them. Thus, Ivy Bridge's superior per-clock performance yields the highest frame rates. Our two newer systems are easily adequate through all tested resolutions, and mainly CPU-bound, while the $600 PC’s beefy Core i5 processor outpaces its weaker graphics pairing at stock settings.
Looking specifically at 1920x1080 at Ultra details (the way we’d assume most folks would play Skyrim on these rigs), the current PC trails last’s quarter’s efforts by about 10 FPS in both minimum and average frame rates. It does grab a few back when we overclock, though.