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AMD FX Vs. Intel Core i3: Exploring Game Performance With Cheap GPUs

Benchmark Results: DiRT 3

Performance Target: 30 FPS Minimum

DiRT 3 is another title that presents a moderate graphics workload, and consequently isn't really held back by our choice in processor. Only the dual-core A4-3400 APU lagged behind. Again, we don't expect to see much difference here.

All of our graphics cards manage playable performance at 1920x1080, and DiRT 3 deserves its reputation as a game that scales well with graphics hardware. None of the results are particularly telling of a trend one way or the other. Intel's CPU performs slightly better with the Radeon HD 6950, but again, that's nothing you'd pick up on while playing the game itself.

Performance Target: 40 FPS Minimum, 60 FPS Average

AMD's Radeon HD 6950 achieved our second goal at DiRT 3's highest detail settings (and with 8x MSAA applied) in the last test, so we won't re-test that board here.

We had to lower the resolution to 1440x900 in order for AMD's Radeon HD 5570 to make the cut, but its 6770 and 6850 handle 1080p without a problem. And although the bottom chart appears empty, all of the scores are above 60 FPS on both processors.

According to the minimum and average frame rates, Intel's Core i3-2100 has a slight advantage with the Radeon HD 5570 and 6850. Faced with such high frame rates, however, the benefit ends up less significant.  

  • ilysaml
    Great...AMD is still capable.
    Reply
  • reyshan
    Whats with the line graph Don, it's hard to read especially with the choice of color on the lines. Bring back the bar graphs.:)
    Reply
  • jjb8675309
    This is a great article, Toms needs more budget rundowns like this and perhaps more games in the test sweet that exploit the cpu difference more...
    Reply
  • compton
    I think if you're really budget limited, but need to build a system today, buying 1155 makes a little more sense. Get a decent motherboard, then get an 1155 Celeron G530/540 or Pentium. Then save up some money, and upgrade to an Ivy Bridge CPU later. The i3 is great, but the i5s are a much better deal $/performance.

    So if you need a new system and can't afford an i5, just buy a cheap 1155 SB as a placeholder until you can . Like the conclusion states, the upgrade path is there -- I just think that if it's a temporary step, you might as well save $60 to $80 if you're upgrading in the next 4 months anyway. You'd be surprised how fast the SB budget parts are, and they're fast enough to get you through till IB.

    Reply
  • esrever
    would be nice if more benchmarks were done, there are a lot of popular games that would be nice to test like civ 5, l4d2 or similar source game, mw3, SWTOR ect. Even if some of them aren't the most demanding games it would be nice to see them as they would be more relevant than dirt 3 or battlefield 3 single player.
    Reply
  • jp182
    esreverwould be nice if more benchmarks were done, there are a lot of popular games that would be nice to test like civ 5, l4d2 or similar source game, mw3, SWTOR ect. Even if some of them aren't the most demanding games it would be nice to see them as they would be more relevant than dirt 3 or battlefield 3 single player.
    It would be nice if they through Civ 5 or MW3 in but at least on the FPS front, I think BF3 has a bigger following on the PC and the same thing goes for Skyrim. Not sure how many people are still playing Just Cause 2 though. In either case, I think this has more to do with being able to compare these results to the results from past benchmarks they've run.
    Reply
  • manu 11
    Thanks for appreciating our feedback, thank you very much. Great Article As always.
    Reply
  • lemlo
    9527590 said:
    Whats with the line graph Don, it's hard to read especially with the choice of color on the lines. Bring back the bar graphs.:)


    The line graph is better way to show it's behaviour over a period of time rather than a flat average, which doesn't explain frequent dips or long stretches of smooth gameplay in fps and such.

    A very informative and realistic article, nice work Tom's. Lets hope AMD has something with piledriver.
    Reply
  • amdfangirl
    Sucks that the Core i3 can't be overclocked like the legendary e4xxx series or the e2160 which you could get a 100% OC with.

    If DC Sandy Bridges could be unlocked, they would be so good for gaming.
    Reply
  • erunion
    Love the FPS graphed over time. Keep using them!
    Reply