Results: Thief, Tomb Raider and WoW
Even with the detail settings cranked up as high as they’ll go, the CPU you choose does make a difference in Thief at 1920x1080. Both Intel’s Pentium and AMD’s Athlon pick up quantifiable performance after modest air-cooled overclocks. As we’ve seen several times already, though, the dual-core Haswell-based chip shines a bit more brightly.
That advantage is diminished by frame time variance numbers indicating hitches and stutters in several places. This stuff isn’t new, either. In several games, Intel’s Haswell architecture delivers spectacular frame rates by virtue of its efficiency, but also stumbles over certain passages more than the quad-core contenders (notice the Core i5 and Athlon X4 at the top of our chart). Does the same phenomenon apply in Tomb Raider?
As with Battlefield 4, Tomb Raider is another title limited by the speed of your graphics card (even when you’re using a $1000 board). Our frame rate over time chart shows just how tightly each platform remains grouped—only the overclocked Athlon and Pentium CPUs (plus the stock Pentium) break away from the field.
When so much of the performance story is told by your GPU, don’t expect a host processor swap to affect frame time variance much, either. The dual-core Pentium doesn’t run into the same issues this time around.
World of WarCraft
But World of Warcraft is an entirely different story; it’s heavily affected by CPU performance. Architectural efficiency and thread count both come into play. As a result, the Hyper-Threaded Core i3 and quad-core Core i5 take top honors, followed by Intel’s stock and overclocked Pentium G3258. AMD’s processors simply don’t do as well, consistent with other WoW-based benchmarks we’ve run over the years.
We might have suspected the dual-core Pentium to get punished in our frame time variance benchmarks. It doesn’t, though. Instead, the Athlon struggles most.