AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 And X2 5000+ Socket AM2, nForce 590 SLI & ATI RD580
Low-Res Gaming: F.E.A.R. & Quake 4
To start our in-game testing, we did some low-resolution benchmarking with F.E.A.R. When testing a processor with F.E.A.R, we drop the resolution to 640x480, and drop all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum values to isolate CPU and memory performance. Please note, however, that for the gaming tests, we installed a pair of X1900 cards into our ATI and Intel based systems, and used a GeForce 7900 GTX SLI configuration in the NVIDIA powered rigs.
The highest performing system in our low-res F.E.A.R benchmark was based on ATI's RD580 reference motherboard, powered by the Athlon 64 FX-62 and a Radeon X1900 CrossFire setup. The NF 590 SLI based systems, both at stock and overclocked speeds, came in just behind the RD580, followed by the Socket 939 based systems and then the Intel 965 Extreme Edition. Because this benchmark isn't a simple timedemo that disregards physics or AI, there is a large disparity in performance between the Intel and AMD platforms.
For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom single-player Quake 4 timedemo. Here, we installed the game's official v1.2 patch which is SMP capable, cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Quake 4 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings it too is more CPU and memory-bound than anything else.
Our custom low-resolution, low-quality Quake 4 benchmark had the Athlon 64 FX-62 powered rigs finishing at the top of the charts. The CPU's higher clock speed and increased cache give it an edge over every other processor we tested. Interestingly enough, the new Athlon 64 5000+ posted the lowest framerate of the bunch, although it was only a fraction of a frame per second lower than the Intel 965 Extreme Edition.