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Tom's SBM: The $1,500 Mainstream PC

Game Benchmarks: Real-Time Strategy

World in Conflict is a new addition to our benchmark suite, as a visually demanding real time strategy game. It’s gorgeous, and the mid-range system handles it very well. Resolution doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on performance here, indicating a bottleneck somewhere, probably with the CPU. CPU bottlenecking is further supported by the 30% performance increase we see when overclocked.

The difference between an average of 30 fps and 40 fps in a video game can be quite dramatic, as the frame rates are low enough at this level for the change to be noticed. As frame rates approach 60, though, it’s more difficult to see any difference in the smoothness of the video, so this is one case where the overclock should provide a noticeable boost.

Now let’s look at how the system holds up with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering applied:

Wow, the frame rates barely nudge at all. This is absolute proof that the game is CPU bottlenecked, as this option will put a much higher load on the video cards, yet the frame rates are almost identical.

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance is the new Supreme Commander expansion, with newer units, enhanced visuals, and the same system-punishing requirements. Notice how as the resolution is raised, performance suffers, yet the overclocked system doesn’t seem to do much better; this indicates the opposite of a CPU bottleneck, likely a graphics card bottleneck.

With anti-aliasing applied, the system once again slows, and we see that the high CPU overclock is doing nothing for performance. There is a tiny speed increase, which is likely due to the small video card overclock.