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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC

Benchmark Results: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Our Modern Warfare 2 benchmark shows what appears to be a CPU bottleneck for the current overclocked configuration at resolutions below 2560x1600. The problem with that explanation is that the former build was clocked slower, and our previous tests have shown that the game cannot take advantage of the former build’s extra CPU cores.

To get to the bottom of this performance problem, we first looked at our June $2000 PC, which used similar cards and a similar CPU at similar speeds to the current build. Once we had a frame-of-reference, we tried various tuning tricks to reach the previous performance level.

We found that running uncore at its lowest compatible setting (twice the DRAM data rate) doubled our performance loss, while increasing memory speed and/or timings eliminated the loss. This means that running a lower uncore ratio in order to stabilize an overclock isn’t always a great move from a performance standpoint, and that memory bottlenecks do exist with some games.

We also found that DDR3-1134 CAS 6 netted similar performance to DDR3-1512 CAS 8, indicating that the bottleneck in this game is memory response time, rather than bandwidth (latency/frequency * 1000 = nanoseconds). Yet, we had to use completely different memory just to prove the insufficiency of the stuff we bought, and that’s something most builders can’t do.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • amk09
    The link to enter the giveaway doesn't work!

    I would love to be first to enter :)
    Reply
  • micr0be
    i think im gona get a revo 2 drive ssd to upgrade my current build.... all thanks to santa !!
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Its good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.
    Reply
  • fstrthnu
    I'm pretty surprised we didn't see Geforce GTX 570s in this build, I guess they got released too late to make it here.
    Reply
  • fstrthnu
    >> First time in recent memory
    "Cough Cough" Lame Pun
    Reply
  • jerreece
    Wow that Mushkin memory really jacked up this benchmark.
    Reply
  • kkiddu
    Most perfect build ever ? Just read the configs yet, and I think that's a possibility.

    Now don't skin me if the config proves to be a flop in the coming pages. Just read the first page and couldn't resist a comment.
    Reply
  • hemburger
    Why not replace the two ssd's with a single intel 120gb... same price and now on 35nm
    Reply
  • kkiddu
    I think this one can be trimmed to a very good $1500 build as well. Change the CPU to i5 760, remove one of the cards, one of the SSDs, and you'll need lower capacity PSU for that, let's slash $30-$50 there, you get a very good PC for $1500.
    Reply
  • kkiddu
    And oh, cheapen the case as well. There's no free lunch. You gotta sacrifice some silence to gains some frame rates.
    Reply