Category Archives: Games

Introducing System Benchmarks

For those that have been following the site at all over the past month or two, most of what I’ve been doing is running some initial performance results for older games and getting the framework in place to benchmark and compare performance for new games. I’ve mostly got that side of things worked out, though I haven’t quit my “day job” just yet so it’s been a bit slow. Today I put in the necessary time to create a new and useful page: System Benchmarks. You can go ahead and access the new page right now, but I wanted to talk a bit more about why I created System Benchmarks in the first place.
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Tomb Raider Performance

If Skyrim is a poor choice for a graphics benchmark, Tomb Raider is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Part of that almost certainly stems from Tomb Raider's next-gen console roots, as the CPU core in both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is relatively slow compared to a modern PC core -- they both use AMD's Jaguar core, which is found in AMD Kabini APUs -- but Tomb Raider is also very good at utilizing GPU resources. The result is that you get excellent scaling with faster GPUs in Tomb Raider, much more than what you see in other games.
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Elder Scrolls Skyrim Performance: a Flawed Benchmark

The Elder Scrolls is a long-running series, with five major titles along with a variety of expansion packs and DLC. Elder Scrolls Skyrim is the latest release, and it's hard to believe that it came out three years ago. It's still a great RPG, but as a benchmark... well, most of the Elder Scrolls games have been flawed benchmarks at best. I suppose some of that depends on your perspective, though, so it might be better to state that the Elder Scrolls games have traditionally been very heavy on the CPU requirements, while graphics requirements have not scaled quite as fast.
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GRID 2 Performance

This is less of a new benchmark than it is revisiting the topic of Codemasters and their racing games. While GRID Autosport is the latest game in the series, there are many similarities to GRID 2. GRID 2 was the first Codemasters game that had help from Intel, and visually and also in the area of performance the two titles are quite similar. So, let's just get straight to it and see what GRID 2 has to offer.
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Batman Arkham Origins Performance

The Batman series has been a great example of how to do a superhero game that truly makes you feel like a superhero. As the name implies, Batman Arkham Origins takes the series back to the beginning, and it explores the origins of many of the characters. This is probably well-trodden ground if you're a fan of the comics and movies, but I actually haven't read any comics in quite some time so I find the story in Batman Arkham Origins is at least reasonably engaging. As with the earlier Batman Arkham games, you start with a somewhat limited set of moves and equipment, unlocking additional items and upgrades as the game progresses. Towards the latter portion of the game, Batman becomes a force to be reckoned with, and you'll have fights of 20 or more villains to help test your skills.
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Wasteland 2 Performance

Kickstarter... it's an amazing little phenomenon, and among other uses it has now become a platform for funding and launching video games. While Wasteland 2 is by no means the first game to get funding on Kickstarter, and it's also not the first Kickstarter game to see the light of day, it does hold a soft place in my heart. After all, I backed the game within hours of the Kickstarter launch, and what's more the guys behind Wasteland 2 (Brian Fargo specifically) are some of the heroes of my youth. I remember playing the original Wasteland on a Commodore 64 ages ago, and while some things were a bit of a pain -- including the requirement that you make a copy of one disk as the game would update the state of the world as you played (remember: the 64 was for 64K of RAM, so you couldn't keep track of a lot of things!) -- overall Wasteland is perhaps one of the greatest games of the early PC.
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Metro Last Light Performance

The Metro series of games happens to be one of the most demanding out there in terms of punishing your graphics cards. The original Metro 2033 had a plot similar in some ways to STALKER, though it could be a bit hard to follow. The sequel Metro Last Light continues the story, and at maximum detail settings it can bring just about any modern system to its knees. Reviews for the original game are good (81% on average), and the sequel received similarly positive reviews (82% average). Interestingly, both games have been updated with a "Redux" release, which is a full-priced update, or you can get each Redux as a separate game for half the cost of the bundle. We'll look at testing the Redux versions in the near future, but can your PC handle the demanding graphics of the original Metro Last Light?
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GRID Autosport Performance

Our first official gaming benchmark is Codemasters' latest racing game, GRID Autosport. Reviews for the game have been reasonably positive overall, with Metacritic reporting an average score of 78%. That's not too surprising, as outside of DIRT Showdown Codemasters has delivered enjoyable driving action for years. If you're looking for a quick recommendation, GRID Autosport is a good racing game that will keep you busy for hours, though it's not a realistic simulation by any stretch and it's not likely to convert anyone that's not a fan of the genre.
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Gaming Bench Welcomes You

Welcome to Gaming Bench!

The purpose of Gaming Bench is quite simple: benchmark the latest games on a variety of hardware, and show the results to the world. There are plenty of sites that test hardware, and other sites that review games, but as someone that has done plenty of hardware reviews over the past decade, in the interest of comparing new hardware with previously reviewed hardware, the selection of benchmarks often remains more or less static.
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