As you know, it is the graphics subsystem that determines the performance of the entire platform equipped with pretty high-speed processors in the majority of contemporary games. Therefore, we select the most CPU-dependent games and take the fps readings twice. The first test run is performed without antialiasing and in far not the highest screen resolutions. These settings allow us to determine how well the processors can cope with the gaming loads in general and how the tested CPUs will behave in the nearest future, when new faster graphics card models will be widely available. The second pass is performed with more real-life settings – in FullHD resolution and maximum FSAA settings. In our opinion, these results are less interesting, but they demonstrate clearly the level of performance we can expect from contemporary processors today.
Bulldozer microarchitecture didn’t do well in games. Luckily, its recent refresh, Piledriver, started showing signs of improvement in this aspect. Vishera has become significantly faster in games than Zambezi. As a result, FX-8150 is totally defeated not only by the new generation eight-core processors, FX-8350 and FX-8320, but also by the six-core FX-6300. However, the gaming performance of the new FX-4300 turned out quite disappointing. It is unfortunate that AMD decided to reduce its L3 cache memory size, because right now the new generation quad-core FX CPU loses even to its predecessor, FX-4170, in games that are sensitive to the memory sub-system performance.
However, speaking about the improvement of the gaming capabilities in the new Vishera processors with eight and six computing cores, it is important to remember that Intel CPUs continue dominating the gaming segment with much higher speeds. Core i7 and Core i5 based platforms produce more frames per second than systems with the top AMD FX processors, and Core i3 CPUs can easily challenge FX-6300.
It means that AMD fans enjoying occasional 3D gaming can only appeal to the fact that the actual gaming performance is limited by the graphics sub-system potential, which doesn’t let the CPUs fully shine. Therefore, in real-life situation, the difference between faster and slower processors may be hardly noticeable at all. However, it has to be a pretty weak argument after all. As we can see from the test results, there are games where the processor performance does affect the fps rate even with maximum image quality settings. Besides, there are new 3D shooters coming out these days, in which we know nothing about the effects of CPU performance on the graphics sub-system.