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Testbed and Methods

We tested the processors in Half-Life 2 game by playing the preliminarily recorded demo scenes. Luckily, Half-Life 2 uses its own physical engine even for pre-recorded demo playback, so the fps rates obtained throughout this test does reflect the fps rate during actual gameplay. For our testing needs we used the same five demos we have already introduced to you in our article devoted to the graphics cards performance in Half-Life 2. Note that we decided to use all these demos, because as we have just seen Half-Life 2 loads different system components differently in each demo. Therefore, we assume that the CPU performance can also vary in different demos.

We also discovered that the use of high resolutions, FSAA and anisotropic filtering in Half-Life 2 doesn’t make the fps rate less dependent on the processor speed. In other words, even when the work mode is very heavy and resource consuming for the graphics subsystem, Half-Life 2 remains very CPU dependent. That is why we decided to perform our tests in two video modes. In the first case we tried to unload the graphics subsystem as much as possible: we set 1024x768 resolution, disabled anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. In the second case we used the same settings a gamer would use for a powerful graphics accelerator: we set the 1280x1024 resolution, enabled 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. Other settings remained the same in both cases and were at their maximum all the time, so that we could ensure maximum image quality: model detail – high, texture detail- high, water detail – reflect all, shadow detail – high, shader detail – high.

Of course, we used the most powerful graphics card for our processor benchmarks: ATI RADEON X800 XT working at 500MHz chip and 1000MHz memory frequency.

The complete list of tested processors as well as other testbed components are given below:

  • CPU:
    • AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 (Socket 939, 2.6 GHz, 1024KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (Socket 939, 2.4 GHz, 1024KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (Socket 939, 2.4 GHz, 512KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (Socket 939, 2.2 GHz, 512KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (Socket 939, 2.2 GHz, 512KB L2, Winchester core);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Socket 754, 2.2 GHz, 1024KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (Socket 939, 2.0 GHz, 512KB L2, Winchester core);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (Socket 754, 2.0 GHz, 1024KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 939, 1.8 GHz, 512KB L2, Winchester core);
    • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 754, 2.0 GHz, 512KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon 64 2800+ (Socket 754, 1.8 GHz, 512KB L2);
    • AMD Sempron 3100+ (Socket 754, 1.8 GHz, 256KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (2.2 GHz, 400MHz FSB, 512KB L2);
    • AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (2.0 GHz, 400MHz FSB, 512KB L2);
    • Intel Pentium 4 570J (LGA775, 3.8 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 560J (LGA775, 3.6 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 550J (LGA775, 3.4 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 540J (LGA775, 3.2 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 530J (LGA775, 3.0 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 520J (LGA775, 2.8 GHz);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.4E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.4 GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.2E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.0E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 2.8E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
    • Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
    • Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.46 GHz (LGA775, 1066?Hz FSB).
  • Mainboards:
    • MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (Socket 939, NVIDIA nForce3 250);
    • EPoX 8KDA3+ (Socket 754, NVIDIA nForce3 250);
    • ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe (Socket A, NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400);
    • ASUS P5AD2-E Premium (LGA775, i925XE Express).
    • ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe (Socket 478, i875P).
  • Memory:
    • 1024MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX512-3200XLPRO, 2 x 512MB, 2-2-2-10);
    • 1024MB DDR2-533 SDRAM (OCZ PC2 4300, 2 x 512MB, 4-4-4-8).
  • Graphics cards:
    • Sapphire RADEON X800 XT (AGP 8x);
    • Sapphire RADEON X800 XT (PCI-E x16);
  • HDD:
    • Maxtor MaXLine III 250GB (SATA150).

The tests were run in MS Windows XP SP2 operation system with the DirectX 9.0c installed.

 
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