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.
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.
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.
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.
If DC Sandy Bridges could be unlocked, they would be so good for gaming.