by Rob Williams on September 20, 2019 in Processors
Having taken a look at Linux performance with AMD’s Ryzen 5 6-core 3600X and 4-core 3400G last week, we’re now turning our attention to Windows. We’re tackling everything from encoding to rendering and math to gaming with the ultimate goal of finding out how these chips stack up, and see where the greatest strengths lay.
In recent years, we haven’t had a huge gaming focus in our CPU reviews, simply because we’ve had so much other testing to take care of, some of which isn’t tackled many other places (if anywhere else on a regular basis). But, with such a massive focus on gaming with this launch, we had to renew our focus, and thus, we have three games and a couple of synthetic benchmarks on-hand to help.
For our testing with real games, we’re sticking to testing with 1080p and 4K resolutions. If we’re going to benchmark games, it makes sense to us to run them at realistic resolutions, because a gain seen at 720p or lower quite literally doesn’t matter if there’s no differences seen at higher resolutions people actually play at.
Nonetheless, we’re up for suggestions on how to expand our gaming testing for CPU reviews. We already have a robust collection for our actual gaming GPU reviews, but when testing for CPUs, it can be hard to find good scaling. For this reason, we chose to start with two eSports titles here, as well as a high-end game, Far Cry 5. Synthetics will be shown after the real game results.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Intel regularly touts that its CPUs are best for gaming, and based on CS: GO, that’s hard to argue. While 100s of FPS are not going to matter to most people, it’s clear that if you want as much of a guarantee as possible that you will hit peak framerates, the 9900K is pretty tasty. For those who are not quite as dependent on sky-high FPS, all of the CPUs can handle the game at 4K/100 with ease. With the 3600X appearing 4th in the list, it shows that AMD is definitely providing a solid, but cheaper alternative to the 9900K, at least with CS: GO.
That all being said, you’ll still likely get better overall performance on faster single-threaded CPUs, with possibly less hitching. Sadly, hitching can even exist on the highest-end of systems, so it’s hard to truly future-proof anything. Hopefully we’ll reach a day when such game niggles are a thing of the past (now there’s some naive thinking).
Far Cry 5
CS: GO proved that your CPU can matter quite a bit in games if high frame rates are your goal, and Far Cry 5 changes nothing about that statement unless we’re talking about 4K. At 1080p, Intel’s 6- and 8-core chips have a clear lead, while poor Threadripper optimization for gaming results in the 32-core model sitting at the absolute bottom. Meanwhile, the modest 3400G sits ahead of it!
At 4K, the 2990WX still sits at bottom, but advantages with all of the others appear to go right out the window. That’s ultimately a good thing, since it means high-resolution is much more dependent on the GPU than it is the CPU.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Siege scales quite well on CPUs at 1080p, reaching almost 300 FPS with the TITAN Xp and Core i9-9900K. That’s an interesting value to take note of, since CS: GO peaked at 235 FPS, despite Siege looking graphically more impressive. At 4K, the gains across the stack are minor.
We’re not really sure what we should be taking away from 3DMark runs in CPU reviews, but with the DX11 test, the 6-core 8700K aligns with the 3600X, flip-flopping strengths in each test. In the DirectX 12 test, things change a bit, with Intel having a stronger lead overall. At least according to 3DMark, the 4-core APUs will really hold back your gaming overall (which is probably fair to say by this point).