Benchmark Results: CPU Performance
Since StarCraft II is clearly CPU-limited, we run our benchmark with different CPUs at various clock speeds:
Granted, our benchmark is meant to represent a worst-case scenario of what the gaming enthusiast might encounter in StarCraft II, but we’re still surprised that it takes a 3 GHz quad-core Phenom II to achieve a 20 FPS minimum. A 2.5 GHz Phenom II X4 barely offers playable performance.
Now let’s see what happens with fewer CPU cores:
StarCraft II takes a minor hit when the number of CPU cores drops to two, but on a single-core CPU, things really slow down.
In our previous StarCraft II beta benchmark article, we suggested that a dual-core CPU at 2 GHz would be the minimum you’d want to use for this game. Today's more demanding benchmark suggests that this class of CPU is probably less than you’d want under your hood during large battles, where the AI is controlling a lot of units. It might suffice, though, for smaller engagements, or at even lower resolutions and quality settings.
If you want to keep things playable during epic battles, we recommend at least a 3 GHz dual-core or a 2.8 GHz triple-core processor. We also suggest that you opt for a 3.4 GHz Phenom II or a Core i5-750 at the very least to ensure smooth gameplay at all times.