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

Benchmark Results: Metro 2033

Performance Target: 30 FPS Minimum

We know Metro to be a graphics-limited title capable of dropping very high-end boards to their knees. In our last story, however, we used the Very High quality preset and barely achieved a 16 FPS minimum frame rate. Now that our target is 30 FPS, we have to drop our settings and see what happens.

The results are fairly close across the board, although the Core i3-2100 demonstrates a lead in some parts of the benchmark when the Radeon HD 5570 is used. This is interesting because low-end GPUs most often limit graphics performance. But the results make more sense when you remember that a low-end card must necessarily be used in conjunction with lower resolutions and detail settings. The Radeon HD 5570 was the only card that couldn’t handle 1080p, so it was tested at 1366x768.

This is the first time we've seen a sizable gap between processors, so we're curious to see what will happen when we smooth out performance by targeting higher frame rates.

Performance Target: 40 FPS Minimum, 60 FPS Average

Faced with higher frame rate targets, we see noteworthy differences in performance. Finally, we see evidence of processor choice affecting performance in a definitive way.

We had to drop our Radeon HD 5570-based setup to 1024x768 to hit these numbers. And while the Core i3-2100 capitalizes on the lesser workload, the FX-4100 is unable to push frame rates much higher than it did in our prior analysis. The story is similar across all graphics cards.

The differences are too large to ignore. Interestingly, the FX-4100’s minimum frame rate never exceeds 34 FPS, suggesting a particular bottleneck that didn't affect the Core i3, which manages to hit a 45 FPS minimum.

  • 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