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Do The Meltdown and Spectre Patches Affect PC Gaming Performance? 10 CPUs Tested

Shadow of War, Project CARS 2 & PUBG

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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We swapped out the aging Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for Shadow of War during this round of tests. We like that its built-in benchmark is very consistent.

Shadow of War isn't as sensitive to clock rate and IPC throughput as its predecessor. We don't see much variance between the Core i5 and i7 models, which are largely graphics-bound. There is, however, more distance between the lower-end models. But there is only a 13.2 FPS delta between the Core i7-8600K and Pentium G4620.

Project CARS 2

We're also swapping out Project CARS for Project CARS 2.

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There's a bit more scaling to observe in this title, with the slowest processor lagging the leader by 41 FPS. Regardless, though, there isn't any significant variance attributable to security patches (aside from a 1.7 FPS delta between the Core i3-8350K results).

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

This is also our first outing with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

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Although we're using a saved game sequence to ensure repeatability, we recently learned that PUBG recordings can lag in-game multiplayer performance by ~4-8 FPS. This is an odd tendency because recorded game sequences usually run faster than actual multiplayer matches. Nevertheless, we recorded a few sessions with our tool and then compared them to in-game results using the same path. Sure enough, the FPS line charts didn't overlap, even though the results indicate similar peaks and valleys. That means the recording is an accurate representation of trends, albeit with slower frame rates. 

That doesn't mean the results are any more interesting than they have been, though. The game engine simply doesn't scale well; we only recorded a 5.9 FPS delta between the fastest and slowest processors in our test pool. We probably could amplify this difference by reducing graphics quality. However, we prefer setting the eye candy to maximum for a more enjoyable experience, rather than deliberately creating a synthetic metric.


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