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Performance in Games

Battlefield 2

Battlefield 2 shooter, a continuation of one of the most PC popular military strategies played on the Net today, cannot be considered a new-generation game. It was released in summer and doesn’t really demand too much for the graphics subsystem. Nevertheless, we decided to include it into our today’s testing session for multiple reasons. Its incredible popularity is actually one of them. Another important reason the determined our decision in favor of this game is the fact that unlike many other shooters it sets pretty high requirements to the system processor, rather than graphics accelerator.

For example, if we look at the graphics card reviews on our site, we will notice that in low resolutions the graphics cards perform more or less equally in Battlefield 2, even if anisotropic filtering and full-screen anti-aliasing are enabled. This is a clear indication that the graphics processor cannot be the bottleneck of the system.

In order to evaluate the performance of different CPUs in this game, we decided to refrain from using heavy graphics modes. All benchmarks were carried out in 1024x768 with Medium gaming quality setting. Here I would like to stress that Battlefield 2 is one of those games where the maximum fps rate is locked at 90 fps. To make our analysis more correct we disabled this feature.

The diagram below represents the obtained results:

The performance results you have just seen seem to be quite logical. AMD CPUs have always been better off in gaming applications, and Battlefield 2 is no exception here. However, we would still like to draw your attention to the advantage of AMD Athlon 64 processors over their rivals from the Pentium 4 family. The thing is that the gap between them is simply huge, so that the tope Pentium 4 CPUs appear running neck and neck with the slowest Athlon 64 models. This way, it will hardly be a smart move to go for an Intel processor if you are a Battlefield 2 fan.

If we take a closer look at the obtained results, we will be able to make some additional conclusions. Just like most contemporary games, Battlefield 2 doesn’t support dual-core processors. If the system is equipped with a CPU like that, the game will only use one of the processor cores. As a result, the fps rate will not be as high as expected, because most today’s dual-core CPUs are still working at lower frequencies than their single-core fellows.

As for the amount of available cache-memory, this parameter affects the system performance in Battlefield 2 only by CPUs with K8 architecture. The performance difference between the systems built on a Pentium 4 5xx and Pentium 4 6xx processors is pretty small: no higher than 5%. The situation with Athlon CPUs is slightly different. The CPUs with 1MB L2 cache memory are faster than the CPUs working at the same clock speed but featuring half as big L2 cache and the performance difference is about 10%-15%. So, the Socket 939 platform owners should pay special attention to the L2 cache memory size of their CPUs.

Besides the actual influence of the CPU performance on the gaming experience in Battlefield 2, we decided to also take a look at the performance dependence on the amount of system memory installed. To conduct this investigation we compared the performance of two identical systems differing only by the amount of RAM: 1GB or 2GB. This test was carried out in an Athlon 64 FX-57 based system. It order to avoid the influence of the memory timings on the gaming performance, we used a pair of DDR400 DIMM modules with 2-3-2-10 timings in both cases.

We can see some performance difference, although it is really small: about 1%. However, it is just a performance difference we managed to detect during a prerecorded demo playback. In a real game you will feel the difference much better, of course, as the game will be addressing the disk subsystem. I wouldn’t state that you cannot enjoy Battlefield 2 to the full extent with only 1GB of memory installed, however, having 2GB of memory will definitely make your gaming experience much more pleasing.

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