It’s going to be short, because I’m not a verbal being.
OK -I still have the Eurocom Racer 2.0 with GTX 670MX and I7-3630QM, see full review here. Some benchmarks have already been posted – the notebookcheck benchmark including many GPUs and more. This is another benchmark.
But two more interesting benchmarks are this and this, comparing how Crysis 3 runs on different CPUs. The pcgameshardware.de site benchmarked Crysis 3 on various machines with different CPUs and the same GPU – the GK110 (the “Titan” core). The idea was to check how much benefit the Crysis 3 makes from having more cores. I checked it too, with the same CPU – the I7-3630QM, setting the “affinity” through the Windows Task Manager.
Lets start with the benchmark.
The first parameter is the “system” option in the Graphics menu, the second is the Anti-Aliasing, the third is the Texture Resolution.
|very high, SMAA high, TR = very high||6-9||not playable|
|very high, SMAA high, TR = high||11-15||barely playable, nto fun|
|very high, SMAA low, TR = very high||12-16||barely playable, not fun|
|very high, SMAA low, TR = high||12-22, mostly 15-18||playable. not smooth|
|very high, FXAA, TR = high||16-21||playable, not smooth|
|high, SMAA low, TR = high||17-27, mostly above 22||very playable playable|
|high, FXAA, TR = high||17-30, mostly around 20-22 and above||very smooth|
|medium, SMAA low, TR = very high||18-28||very playable|
|medium, SMAA low, TR = high||22-35, mostly 24-27||very smooth|
Now, for the number of cores test. The benchmarks from pcgameshardware.de clearly show that the Crysis 3 game can make use of additional cores to the point that the AMD cpus become a very cost effective solution. This is interesting as there are no such games that actually make a good use of any number of cores you throw at it.
The CPU cores test:
1. First test: Not CPU bound. The graphics settings are high simulating realw-world gaming. “System Spec” = high, FXAA, TR = “”high , 1080p. First part of the game in the “Cell” facilities.
I didn’t manage to reproduce the pcgameshardware results with the I7-3630QM. You can see that there is no use above 3 cores, but that’s probably not the whole story. First of all, I only used the I7-3630QM and not a CPU with more than 4-non HT cores, like pcgameshardware.de used in the benchmarks.
Secondly, and I think more important, it might be that with the hardware PCGH used, the cpu limited the frames rates. PCGH used the GK110 (the Nvidia Titan core) which might be so powerful for these settings that the CPU is actually the limiter. This thought is supported by other benchmarks, like the Guru3D benchmark. You can see that with these settings, the GTX 690 and Titan perform the same, although significantly differ in performance (Anandtech benchmarks for example).
So, I ran one more test, now with an even lower resolution of 1024×768 (lowest possible), all settings on the lowest possible. This is the part of “Welcome to the Jungle” where the security tower locks on you and fire these missiles all over These are the results:
2 cores + their HT (4 logical cores): 25-34 *Not sure the HT cores were used. see below
3 cores + their HT (6 logical cores): 50-60, mostly 55-60
3 cores, no HT (3 logical cores): 43-50
4 cores, no HT (4 logical cores): 50-60, mostly 55-60
We can see that with these settings the ability of Crysis 3 engine to take advantage of more cores is more pronounced even up to 4 cores. However, it is also obvious that in the more common case (people who don’t have a Titan/GTX 690 GPU or do not play on 1024×768 resolution) it is also quite obvious that more than 3 cores won’t benefit you too much or not at all and there is no reason to think of more than 4 cores. That said, if you have a reasonable GPU, even if it’s a high end one, like the GTX 670MX.
(Strange) Crysis 3 behavior when setting affinity
Using 2 cores + 2 HT cores yielded strange behavior. Only two cores (non-HT) were used by Crysis. When activating 3 different cores (with or without their HT), all of them were used to some extent from time to time. I don’t know if it’s a Windows issue or a Crysis issue. I have a filling it won’t happen with an I5 if you won’t mess with the affinity as other benchmarks seem to support it.
Also, it is quite obvious that there is a priority for non-HT cores to be used over HT cores, but that might be just the Windows 7 algorithm.
Testing HT cores vs non-HT cores in Intel Ivy Bridge I7
First of all, I must mentioned that the test didn’t go very well. Setting the cores through the “set affiinity” option in Windows 7 task manager sometimes resulted in only part of the cores activated, as described above. I don’t know if it’s a Windows bug or some Crysis behavior.
But judging by the lot of other benchmarks over the web and what we already know, the HT cores do not add to the performance in Crysis 3 as well as non-HT ones.
For example, the PCGH benchmarks show that the AMD FX-4300 performs better than the I3-3220 in their Crysis 3 CPU test. But a lot of other benchmarks over the web (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) including PCGH benchmarks themselves (last one) show that the FX-4300 is slower for gaming in all the other games, as we already knew. However, remember that the FX-4300 is clocked much higher than this I3 and for the same clocks, you’ll probably won’t see an advantage.
More example is the AMD FX-8350 whichperforms better than the very fast Intel I7-3770K with 4 cores and 8 threads (4 HT).
This suggests that the HT cores has a much smaller advantage in Crysis 3 compared to non-HT ones. Although this is not surprising, it is not that obvious that the FX-4300 will perform better as the Intel cores are faster for gaming across the board and in the last few years, almost any Intel CPU outperformed the direct AMD competing CPU with the same count of cores, including the recent generations of AMD and Intel CPUs – check other games’ benchmarks.
That’s a great progress and I hope we’ll see more and more games developers make use of more cores.
Conclusion and what kind of system do I need for Crysis 3
Currently, for Crysis 3 you better have a 3-cores CPU and above, meaning an I3 / I5 or an AMD A8/A10. The good news are that at least in the Crysis 3 case, we should not see a too significant advantage of the Intel I5 lower models over the AMD A10-4600M / A8-4500M CPUs.
It’s true that the tests we’ve seen above show that the AMD quad FX-4300 performs better than the I3-3220 (which is something like the mobile I5-3230M), but the A10-4600M clocks are about the same as the I5 and therefore I don’t think it will have any advantage. Remember that the FX-4300 CPU has a 500MHZ higher clocks than the I3-3220 in the tests above, which seems like the difference in performance.
As for the Intel CPUs – better take the I5 as it has much higher core clocks potential but anyway – you can’t really get an Intel I3 with a high grade GPU system.
There is one noticeable system with an AMD A10-4600M and it’s the MSI GX60 that is equipped with an AMD Radeon 7970M. Should be quite a catch for Crysis 3. Other good machine you should consider are usualy located in the sub-500$ gaming laptops section.