Skip to main content

Part 4: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Fallout 3

Fallout 3

In Fallout 3, we use FRAPS to benchmark a 60 second run through our “Capital Wasteland” saved game. For smoother combat sequences, we’ll again keep the target at 40 FPS in this action RPG. There was no problem cranking details to maximum, while also enabling 4x AA and 15x AF to further enhance the gaming experience.

There’s a clear GPU limitation at a very playable 70 FPS for the Radeon HD 5750, but all the other graphics cards look fairly CPU-limited. The lack of L3 cache appears to hurt the Athlon II X4 640 more than the small clock rate disadvantage. Even still, it is still capable of delivering over 80 FPS.

A little more GPU bottlenecking is evident at 1680x1050. Once again, the Core i7 leads the way, while the Athlon II lags behind the three Phenom II processors. Averaging nearly 60 FPS, the cheapest configuration is still easily playable.

The Radeon HD 5870 is competitive with the dual-GPU cards when it's matched up to any of the overclocked AMD CPUs, but is now left slightly behind on the Core i7 platform. Once again, the Phenom II X2 550 BE and Radeon HD 5750 still deliver solid performance.

All of the single-GPU cards are limiting performance, while the dual-GPU cards still shine a light on the least and most capable processors in Fallout 3. At 2560x1600, we have exceeded the capabilities of the Radeon HD 5750. But the GeForce GTX 260 and Radeon HD 4890 both remain well above our performance target.