CPU Performance In Arizona Sunshine
In addition to exploring graphics performance, FCAT VR also allows us to isolate other variables by holding graphics constant.
In case you aren’t already familiar with Arizona Sunshine and its brief flirtation with exclusive Core i7-only content, check out our news piece, You’ll Need An Intel i7 To Unlock The Full Experience Of 'Arizona Sunshine.' In brief, higher-end CPUs should support the game’s advanced physics and wind simulation better than mainstream processors.
We gathered up a handful of platforms, dropped in a Titan X (Pascal), turned on Arizona Sunshine’s advanced CPU effects, maxed out all of the other settings, and played through a 100-second sequence to gauge the effect of processor performance on frame rate.
Before getting to the results, let it be known that I, personally, am not a horror fan. Zombies freak me out, and I’m still working on my headshots in Arizona Sunshine. These numbers come from the beginning of the game, if only so I could reliably collect 100 seconds of fairly similar data. As this title picks up pace, my ability to survive tapers off precipitously, so we probably aren’t getting the ludicrous gibs that’d push the most serious physics calculations. I’ll make some progress so that the next time we visit host processing, we’ll use a more raucous workload.
Intel’s 10-core Core i7-6950X does facilitate the highest unconstrained frame rates (127.97), followed by the quad-core Core i7-6700K (127.72). Too close to call, right?
Well, from there, a Core i5-6600K drops to 118.29 unconstrained FPS. The non-Hyper-Threaded CPU appears less consistent through our run compared to the higher-end models, though its Titan X pushes enough performance to keep real frames flowing.
Our original plan was to include a dual-core Core i3-6320, which sits just north of Oculus’ minimum requirement. But the latest spate of Kaby Lake reviews has our samples floating all over North America, so we set up a 990FX-based PC instead and dropped in an FX-8320 processor, thinking its eight integer cores would make quick work of this relatively light benchmark. Instead, the FX-based machine had to synthesize nearly 900 frames at the beginning of our test, and it dropped more than twice as many frames as Intel’s Core i5 due to frame time spikes.
We don’t imagine anyone is pairing a $130 CPU with a $1200 graphics card, making this a largely theoretical exercise. But we’re glad to see it’s possible to quantify CPU-imposed bottlenecks using FCAT VR as well.
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