Everyone knows that Intel doesn't make the fastest graphics solutions in the world right now. In fact, at best their GPUs are typically equivalent to the slowest GPUs that AMD and NVIDIA make; at worst, they're about half that level of performance. But they have one quality that makes them essentially ubiquitous: they're "free". Outside of Intel's enthusiast LGA2011 platform, all current Intel platforms use processors that include some form of graphics. From the lowly Celerons and Pentiums up to high-end Core i7 processors, if you buy any of Intel's consumer CPUs you're going to get some form of Intel graphics.Continue reading Intel’s Broadwell-U and HD 5500 Performance
When NVIDIA first launched their latest mobile GPU updates, the GTX 980M impressed with the level of performance delivered. A few months later, the bigger surprise is perhaps that the GTX 980M is finding its way into relatively thin laptops. The Gigabyte P35W v3 is currently the thinnest laptop equipped with a GTX 980M GPU, with a Core i7-4710HQ on the CPU front. We tested the same configuration in the MSI GT72, a substantially larger notebook with much better cooling; it also foregoes NVIDIA's Optimus Technology, so it should in general be a bit faster. But do you really need to give up much in the way of performance for a thinner gaming laptop? The answer is no, though with some qualifications.Continue reading Gigabyte P35W v3 Performance Review
Evolve came out last week to somewhat mixed reviews -- some have loved it, others have bagged on it, and still others are undecided. A big part of the problem has been 2K Games' decision to have a bunch of Day One DLC -- Downloadable Content -- mostly consisting of skins that they're asking you to buy separately. If this were a Free to Play (F2P) game, we could accept that, but with a $60 price tag it's adding insult to injury. We're not here to talk about the DLC fiasco, though; what we want to quickly discuss is how broken the game is in terms of performance. If the game worked properly, we'd be happy to provide some benchmarks in our usual charts, but the results right now are just all over the place.Continue reading Evolve Initial Launch Woes
The latest game in the Dragon Age series launched last year to critical and popular acclaim. Dragon Age Inquisition from developers BioWare and published by Electronic Arts won plenty of awards for 2014, even though it came out towards the end of November, and it is undoubtedly one of the best RPGs of recent history. With a current Metacritic rating of 85%, it's by no means perfect, but if you're a fan of the genre or series picking the latest release up is a no-brainer.
Except you might be wondering if you actually have enough graphics power to handle the game in all its glory. BioWare also updated the engine from their own Lycium/Eclipse engine used in the earlier titles to DICE's FrostBite 3 engine, of Battlefield 4 fame. Besides supporting advanced rendering features, FrostBite 3 is one of the few engines to fully support AMD's Mantle API, and that means most games that use the engine will by default support Mantle. So how much does Mantle help with performance, and what sort of hardware do you need to run Dragon Age Inquisition? The answers end up being a bit more complex than you might suspect.Continue reading Dragon Age Inquisition: The Highs and Lows of AMD’s Mantle
Here's a game that just might have snuck in under your radar if you don't closely follow the PC gaming sector: The Talos Principle. The game was created by Croteam, the guys behind the silly but fun Serious Sam series, with writing by some excellent talent from indie gaming talent behind FTL, The Swapper, and The Sea Will Claim Everything. The game has also been compared quite favorably with Portal and Portal 2, and having played the game a bit I can say that it's not simply hubris creating such comparisons. Still not sure if this is your type of game? There's a free demo of the game that should help answer that question, or you can look at the reviews and see the 87% overall rating at Metacritic; in other words, this game is certainly worth a look.Continue reading The Talos Principle Performance – A Sleeper Hit
"Sure your system is fast, but can it run Crysis?" When Crytek first launched Crysis back in 2007, it was so demanding that not even the fastest systems were able to handle running the game without turning down some of the features. It ended up becoming something of a joke, trotted out for every new hardware release over the coming years, for everything from graphics cards to super computers and even smartphones and tablets. And as with all things related to computers, eventually we actually did have systems capable of running the original Crysis at frame rates well above 60 FPS.
Of course by then we had Crysis Warhead and then Crysis 2 to help reset the performance scale, and thus the joke has continued. As the latest game in the series, Crysis 3 ups the ante yet again for computing hardware... though these days there are plenty of other games that can give it a run for the money in terms of being the most demanding game. Regardless of age (Crysis 3 is now nearly two years old -- happy birthday!), including Crysis 3 in our list of benchmarks was something I've been meaning to do, and I've now taken the time to benchmark it on our current collection of GPUs.Continue reading Crysis 3 Performance: Can Your New PC Handle It?
Lichdom Battlemage is an interesting title as it uses Cry Engine 3, the same engine that powers Crysis 3 -- which happens to be one of those games that can still kill just about any system at maximum quality. Combine a swords and sorcery story with the run and gun gameplay of an FPS, and then give it some often times laughable American voiceovers and you get Lichdom Battlemage. Reviews for the game are decidedly average, but with a price of under $15 now it's at least affordable; what about system requirements?Continue reading Lichdom Battlemage Performance
It was inevitable that we'd eventually encounter a game where day of launch bugs affected performance to the point where we'd have to rerun all of our numbers. The first game to earn that dubious distinction is Lords of the Fallen, which we first looked at last week. One week later the first patch has arrived, and with it CrossFire now at least works and performance in many instances has improved. This will be our first "before and after" article, and we'll have charts for both versions of the game.Continue reading Lords of the Fallen – Performance Update
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this one, as it's another older title, but I have a bunch of results for Company of Heroes 2 already in my database so I wanted to at least put them somewhere readers could find. Released in June 2013, Company of Heroes 2 is the sequel to the very popular original RTS that launched in 2006. Unfortunately, it's generally considered to be not as good as the first game -- it has a metacritic rating of 80% compared to 93% for the original. I'm sure part of that is the fact that the original game was actually a new approach to RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games in many ways, while the sequel is more of a rehash of stuff we've seen before. Oh, and Company of Heroes can be a pig when it comes to system requirements and performance. Which is why I'm here....Continue reading Company of Heroes 2 Performance
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (which I'm just going to call Shadow of Mordor from here on) sort of came out of nowhere and has become the sleeper hit of the month. Created by Monolith Productions -- the company behind "classics" like Blood and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, not to mention more recent titles like F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2, No One Lives Forever, and Condemned -- I don't know that anyone was really expecting much from yet another Middle-Earth game. It's not that games based on Tolkien are all bad, but there have been so many over the decades and more often than not they've been at best mediocre. Anyway, Shadow of Mordor plays a lot like the Batman: Arkham Asylum/City/Origins games, or the Assassin's Creed games, or probably any number of other stealth/beat-em-up third person games. I've enjoyed quite a few of those titles, and you can definitely add Shadow of Mordor to the list.Continue reading Shadow of Mordor Performance – Resolution Shenanigans and Benchmark Madness