Test 1: Standard Demo
The standard shipping version of Doom 3 comes with a prerecorded demo demo1, which a majority of users and reviewers employ for benchmarking purposes. That’s why we began to test our CPUs in Doom 3 with this record. The demo is launched with the console command timedemo demo1 (to open the console, press Ctrl + Alt + ~).
The results are very informative. First of all, the Athlon 64 family processors boast a significant advantage over the competing CPUs from Intel. The most expensive and fastest Pentium 4 Extreme Edition cannot compete with the topmost members of the Athlon 64 series, not mentioning the Athlon 64 FX. As for the old Athlon XP models, they behave rather poorly. Even the fastest Athlon XP falls far behind the Pentium 4 as well as Athlon 64.
We can also see here that Intel’s new platform on the i925X Express chipset with PCI Express x16 and DDR2-533 SDRAM doesn’t guarantee a higher performance compared to the time-tested i875P platform. At the same time, the Prescott-core processors with SSE3 support and a L2 cache of 1MB are tangibly faster in Doom 3 than their predecessors on the Northwood core.
The CPUs of the Athlon 64 family have ranked up according to their rating. Irrespective of the differences in the L2 cache size and in the memory controller, CPUs with higher ratings are faster than those with lower ratings. The most expensive Athlon 64 model, the FX-53, quite naturally notches the best result of all the tested processors. In fact, we could have ended this review announcing the victory of the Athlon 64 family in our Doom 3 test. But this would be rather hasty on our side.
If critically examined, the demo1 record puts a rather small load on the CPU. And really, the CPU does skinning and dynamic shadows in Doom 3, so there should be more moving characters and many light sources, preferably moving too, like flares from weapon shots. We have little of this in demo1. That’s why we decided to record our own demo that would load the CPU more.