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Benchmark Results: 3D Games

Five £130 To £195 990FX-Based Socket AM3+ Motherboards
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With the 990FX chipset and FX-8150 CPU reviews behind us, a new platform gives us the opportunity to try new benchmarks. DiRT 3 replaces F1 2010 this time, while Metro 2033 takes over where Crysis left off. StarCraft II brings RTS back to our gaming suite, at least for now.

Asus takes first and second place in DiRT 3, depending on the settings. Higher image quality options tend to shift a greater portion of the game’s load toward a GPU bottleneck.

Asus continues to hold second place in Metro 2033. Consistent second-place finishes are typically more valuable than jumps between first and fourth, as they lend themselves to higher average scores.

Speaking of average scores, we should probably mention that these frame rates do not reflect smooth playability in Metro 2033’s default benchmark map. The minimum performance level was around 19 FPS for all boards at our lowest test settings, though a portion of the test map appears to yield more taxing loads than most gamers typically experience.

StarCraft 2 plays smoothly on a Radeon HD 6950 and FX-8150, regardless of the motherboard or even the test settings chosen. This editor had problems getting consistent performance, however, as the game often reported a series of low FPS readings followed by a series of high FPS readings at the same setting. That range might be narrow enough for broader tests, such as different market levels of graphics cards, but isn’t well-suited for comparing extremely-similar hardware.

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