3D Gaming performance
Serious gamers know better than to consider an all-in-one desktop PC for high-end gaming needs. This doesn’t mean that you can’t play games on an all-in-one, it just means you’re usually going to have make some compromises in terms of the screen resolution you use, which quality settings you turn on, and what sort of performance you are willing to live with. We picked three popular 3D titles to see how the TouchSmart 600 fared with some 3D gaming action.
We started off with the most-demanding title of the three, Far Cry 2, which uses advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high-resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We ran the Far Cry tests at 800x600 and 1024x768, with 4x AA--in both DX9 and DX10 modes. Our second title, Left 4 Dead, is also a demanding DX-based game, but not quite as punishing as Far Cry 2 is. We tested Left 4 Dead at 1024x768, 1280x768, and 1280x1024, using 4x MSAA and 16x AF; and then we finished off our Left 4 Dead testing with 1280x1024 using 8x MSAA and 16x AF. The most forgiving of the bunch is the OpenGL-based, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (ETQW); we ran ETQW at 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1680x1050, with 4x AA and 8x AF. Other than the settings just mentioned, all three titles were tested with all of their in-game graphical options set to their maximum values.
Even with the resolution dropped down to 800x600, an average frame rate of 22.6 fps is not a very enjoyable experience--and that was the highest score we got from the TouchSmart 600 on our Far Cry 2 test. To get higher frame rates would mean lowering or turning off a lot of the game’s eye candy--which is much of the game’s appeal. We readily admit that trying to run Far Cry 2 on the TouchSmart 600 is like trying to race a Prius at NASCAR--not very practical. But as games evolve and continue to pile on features that further push the capabilities of GPUs, the TouchSmart 600’s list of playable new game titles will continue to shrink.
While incapable of competing with hardcore gaming rigs, the TouchSmart 600’s performance on our Left 4 Dead test are good enough to mean that this is a playable title. A frame rate of 33.7 fps at 1280x768 is nothing to brag about, but the frame rate is fast enough to call "playable". With just a few tweaks to some of the quality settings, you could likely see noticeably higher frame rates without having to make too many sacrifices.
Last but not least is ETQW--even at 1680x1050, an average frame rate of 29 fps gives us hope. Once again, a few graphics quality settings tweaks and you could see higher frame rates at this relatively high resolution. Of course, lower resolutions see even better performance--such as the 52.7 fps we saw when the resolution was set to 1024x768.