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Gaming Shoot-Out: 18 CPUs And APUs Under $200, Benchmarked

Results: StarCraft II

StarCraft II is one of those titles that consistently shows Intel's CPUs in the lead. We've already seen a number of significant changes from our previous look at sub-$200 processors, though. Might a string of patches, including a post-processing anti-aliasing option, alter the outcome today?

Intel continues to dominate in StarCraft. But its Pentium G860 no longer embarrasses the competition from AMD like it did last year. In fact, it's now in the lower third of our line-up.

Charting out frame rate over time shows how this test speeds up as the benchmark progresses. This is because our test starts with a large number of computer-controlled units. The demand on the system lessens as they are destroyed.

On average, we see high consecutive frame time differences. Given the demanding start to our test, though, and the frame rate increases that occur as the benchmark progresses, there's a good reason we'd see this happen. 

The Llano-based APUs and Athlon II X3 get hit the hardest.

  • e56imfg
    Nice round up. It's nice to finally shine some light onto the new FX chips.
    Reply
  • esrever
    Wow. Frame latencies are completely different than the results on the tech report. Weird.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?

    what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    I was hanging around on the site hoping this would finally get posted today. Looks like I got lucky. I'm definitely happy that newer titles are using more threads, which finally puts AMD back in the running in the budget range at least. Even APU's look like a better buy now, I can't wait to see some Richland and Kaveri APU tests. If one of them has a built in 7750 you could have a nice budget system, especially if you paired it with a discrete GPU for Crossfire.
    Reply
  • hero1
    ingtar33so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?
    Nice observation. I was wondering the same thing. It's time you provide conclusion based upon what you intended to test and not otherwise. You could state the FPS part after the fact.
    Reply
  • Anik8
    I like this review.Its been a while now and at last we get to see some nicely rounded up benchmarks from Tom's.I wish the GPU or Game-specific benchmarks will be conducted in a similar fashion instead of stressing too much on bandwidth,AA or using settings that favor a particular company only.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    ingtar33so... the amd chips test as good as the intel chips (sometimes better) in your latency test, yet your conclusion is yet again based on average FPS?what is the point of running the latency tests if you're not going to use it in your conclusion?
    We absolutely did take latency into account in our conclusion.
    I think the problem is that you totally misunderstand the point of measuring latency, and the impact of the results. Please read page 2, and the commentary next to the charts.

    To summarize, latency is only relevant if it's significant enough to notice. If it's not significant (and really, it wasn't in any of the tests we took except maybe in some dual-core examples), then, obviously, the frame rate is the relevant measurement.

    *IF* the latency *WAS* horrible, say, with a high-FPS CPU, then in that case latency would be taken into account in the recommendations. But the latencies were very small, and so they don't really factor in much. Any CPUs that could handle at least four threads did great, the latencies are so imperceptible that they don't matter.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    esreverWow. Frame latencies are completely different than the results on the tech report. Weird.
    Not really. We just report them a little differently in an attempt to distill the result. Read page 2.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    Anik8.I wish the GPU or Game-specific benchmarks will be conducted in a similar fashion instead of stressing too much on bandwidth,AA or using settings that favor a particular company only.
    I'm not sure what you're referring to. When we test games, we use a number of different settings and resolutions.
    Reply
  • znakist
    Well it is good to see AMD return to the game. I am an intel fan but with the recent update on the FX line up i have more options. Good work AMD
    Reply