Benchmark Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
When AMD’s Bulldozer emerged, we were particularly disappointed that it wasn’t able to resolve the performance deficits suffered by AMD's older architectures in processor-bound games. In fact, our Skyrim tests demonstrate that the FX-8150 underperforms a Phenom II X4 980 across the board, even at 2560x1600.
The Piledriver-based FX-8350 does not completely ameliorate AMD’s gaming issues, but it does improve on the Bulldozer architecture, at least pushing past the Phenom II flagship.
I presented AMD with my findings and we came up with a couple of sources for the speed-up, which, combined, likely explain what’s happening. Most obvious is the 400 MHz-higher base clock rate, enabled through power optimizations. Second is Piledriver’s larger L1 DTLB (from 32 entries to 64), which can benefit performance when a game searches through large data structures spanning multiple pages.
At the end of the day, AMD still has work to do in improving game performance. But Piledriver certainly does help rectify the slide backward we saw Bulldozer taking relative to some of AMD’s previous quad-core parts in processor-bound games.