Part 2: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 contains a built-in benchmarking tool that enables CPU-intensive physics effects, does a decent job of delivering consistent results, and represents actual game-play. There certainly may still be some more graphically-demanding areas of the map, but 40 FPS in the small ranch demo is a fair target for playability. Here we crank details to Ultra quality and also enable 4x AA to smooth out the jaggies.

All three dual-core processors tested in this series, including the Phenom II X2 550 BE, delivered playable performance in Far Cry 2. Still, it’s clear the game can take advantage of more than two processing cores. Averaging almost 54 FPS, the GeForce GTX 260 and Phenom II X2 550 BE get our nod as the most affordable platform to deliver acceptable performance in this round of testing.

The Radeon HD 4890 suffers the smallest performance hit when paired with the cheapest of these Phenom II CPUs, and it's no surprise that the dual-GPU cards suffer the largest hit. While the Radeon HD 4870 X2 puts up big numbers paired with the Phenom II X2 955 BE, the GeForce GTX 295 falls far shy of the 91 FPS reached by the LGA 1366 platform in Part 1 of the series. The Radeon HD 4850 again fails to reach our target with these cranked-up quality settings.

The GeForce GTX 260 and Radeon HD 4890 scored equal performance here, and balance out well with the dual-core Phenom II. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 is well-matched with the Phenom II X3, while the GeForce GTX 285 benefits from pairing with the quad-core Phenom II. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 is again held back from its potential, as results achieved earlier with the Core i7-920 would have put it off the top of this chart’s scale.

The GeForce GTX 295 is catching up fast, but is still held back from gaining the top position at 1920x1200. While this dual-GT200 based card averaged 11 more FPS when paired with the Core i7-920, all of the other graphics cards reached their peak performance at this resolution when matched up to the Phenom II X4 955 BE. The GeForce GTX 260/Phenom II X2 550 BE are again the cheapest well-balanced solution at this resolution. 

The GeForce GTX 285 delivers playable Far Cry 2 performance at 2560x1600 when matched up to any of these Phenom II CPUs, and the GeForce GTX 295 left all other graphics cards behind as long as the platform had at least three processing cores. In general, if you match the required amount of GPU for each resolution, all of these Phenom II processors delivered excellent performance in Far Cry 2, even slightly surpassing the numbers generated with the Intel Core i7-920.

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  • Silvune
    I'd definitely be interested to see how the new Radeon cards would fit into these charts.
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  • redkachina
    Looks like its still relevant for me to keep my Phenom 720, not much of a difference compared to 955..better spend more money on graphics..
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  • bagpussroxx
    Confirms what i already knew about my Phenom II 550 and 4850 rig....

    My Cpu has ALOT more to give if i just upgraded the 4850, and thats just in dual core mode, my CPU will unlock to a Triple or Quad core, but the benefits of doing so with a 4850 are limited in most games.

    Think i'll wait and upgrade my 4850 before running my 550 as a quad.....may as well take the savings on heat and running costs whilst im so GPU limited.
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  • Lewis57
    It would be interesting to see how the 5870 does compared. I'd be interested it building a Phenom II with a 5850 or 5870 if the funds are there.
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  • bamj6
    I have a Q9550S but all the cards on there are better than my 9600 GT

    Thing is I want it to stay as a single slot as my mobo is my recently built matx.
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