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Benchmark Results: Left 4 Dead

Gigabyte's Radeon HD 4650: Are AGP Graphics Still Good Enough?
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That's a CPU bottleneck if I ever saw one. And it's a surprising one too, because I assumed that Left 4 Dead was a little easier on the host processor than Crysis. Admittedly, our benchmark showcases scores of zombies, but that's what this game is all about. At about 30 FPS it's playable, but not very smoothly. Remember, these are average frame rates, so the minimums will dip a lot lower.

Let's add 4x anti-aliasing (AA) and 8x anisotropic filtering (AF) to spice things up:

Those look like the numbers from the previous chart, but they're subtly different. The CPU bottleneck is obviously still the limiting factor here, but look: the full gigabyte of RAM on the AGP Radeon HD 4650 is giving it a leg up against its PCIe counterpart when AA is applied.

The silver lining is that AA and AF are, in essence, "free" on all the new cards with a CPU bottleneck this severe. The old Radeon X700 isn't doing well, though.

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  • 2 Hide
    AceMark , 20 August 2009 19:47
    Glad I seen this article, I've been looking for a card for my old dell 8300 for a couple of weeks now and think I've definately decided on the HD 3850.

    Is there a way to work out what spec of processor would overcome the bottlenecking problems of a specific graphics card?

    p.s. Don't have money for a new rig, so looking to spend as little as possible, so no comments on upgrading to pcie please.
  • 2 Hide
    jrtolson , 21 August 2009 05:53
    if this article proves anything, its that older pc's can still cut it when it comes to gaming.. i don't play crysis or far cry 2. but my 5 year old single core amd 3000+ (754), and ati x1950pro graphic card can still handle the games of late.. it plays bioshock and Oblivion very well... but then if tech review sites and other media had my attitude then the pc industry would come to a standstill...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 21 August 2009 08:04
    well done, good article, just placed a 3850 agp into a AMD 3000+ setup for my brother (Cheapest way to get a gaming system together as this was the only thing to purchase) and i must say it handles most games with zest, only newer games like Supreme commander and Far Cry do not run well on the machine ( CPU bottleneck) but i have a huge amount of brilliant 2004-2008 games that run perfectly on this system my brother is stoked, and LOTRO runs flat out max settings so perfect for his needs, and a bunch of five year old components saved fron trashing.
  • 0 Hide
    GodClassy , 21 August 2009 15:42
    Really looking forward to the 2nd part of this Don!!

    I currently run a 'AsRock 775i65G' with an 'Intel Core2Duo E6420' (2.13GHz 65nm) overclocked to 2.4GHz and the Front Side Bus is at 1200Mhz, along with 2GB of 'Kingston DDR Ram' (Dual Channel). The only thing I am currently looking for is to replace the AGP HD2600Pro as I can feel no bottleneck from the CPU, only the graphics card (had a AGP 1950Pro before it broke, tis was sweet).

    Maybe your will to pick one up off ebay for cheap and look around the office for an old Intel 63XX or 64XX Core2Duo model to add to the tests, as it does allow for a more modern system with hopes of more CPU head room!!

    So please don't forget us Intel fokes out there too!!....
  • 0 Hide
    GodClassy , 21 August 2009 15:44
    Forgot Positivity!! :p 
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 22 August 2009 23:03
    Quote:
    We were also planning to test an Athlon X2 5600+ in order to gauge which games were CPU- and GPU-limited. Unfortunately, our Athlon 64 X2 5600+ CPU didn't agree with the ASRock Dual939-SATA2 CPU expansion card, so we'll have to explore what a faster processor can do in the aforementioned follow-up.


    Maybe overclock the 3800+ x2, depending on the board's capability and chipset?

    It's nice to see that AMD hasn't forgotten the AGP crowd, either, although I would have liked to see some GDDR5 memory thrown into the mix :) 
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 22 August 2009 23:22
    Quote:
    Maybe your will to pick one up off ebay for cheap and look around the office for an old Intel 63XX or 64XX Core2Duo model to add to the tests, as it does allow for a more modern system with hopes of more CPU head room!!


    Maybe even a Part III..which of the older chipsets and CPU combinations are best suited to overclocking? Naturally, one has to be mindful of the 'AGP and PCI lock' feature on these older boards, as the increase in speed can damage components if no such lock of available.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the A64 x2, Pentium Dual-core and Core 2 put in the ring..what would give the killer blow: a slower, overlocked CPU with a more expensive card or a more modern architecture with a cheaper card? Or would it be better to simply sell the lot, and get something more modern? I did consider getting a 3800+ x 2 simply for the purpose of overclocking this S939 board (PCI-E), but these chips are like gold dust over here in the UK, and some of the prices charged on a certain auction site are ridiculous.
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , 28 August 2009 01:56
    wild9I did consider getting a 3800+ x 2 simply for the purpose of overclocking this S939 board (PCI-E), but these chips are like gold dust over here in the UK, and some of the prices charged on a certain auction site are ridiculous.


    I had to be the "agent provoker" on this topic!! But certainly I have some experience of playing around with "older boards" (I am still using a dual-processor dual-core Opteron system - socket 940 - myself). In my experience "server" parts can get cheaper with age, "desktop" parts once no longer manufactured in quantity start to sky-rocket in price. Certainly that is my experience in the UK...

    Try to get a decent skt 939 CPU such as an Opteron 185 or similar for a decent price on the Bay... DDR Ram costs a fortune. Older motherboards may have lots of bells and whistles for OC but generally use lower quality components (e.g. electrolytic capacitors, etc.)

    AGP graphics cards also carry a premium over there PCIe equivalents. This holds true especially when selling second hand - nobody wants to upgrade a more modern PCIe MB to an out-of-date graphics card (given the current the Nvidia vs ATI price war). A good AGP GPU (e.g. 3850) will sell for a reasonable amount second hand.

    Just my $.02...

    Bob

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 22 October 2009 05:41
    I got the HD 4650 ;]] Clock it to the max get a better power supply and run the newest games on a 6 years old machine ! I'm playing GTA IV With no problem on HIGH !!!!!! 4650 RULEZZZZ !!!!!!