Part 2: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Fallout 3

Fallout 3

In Fallout 3, we use FRAPS to benchmark a 60 second run through our “Capital Wasteland” saved game. For smoother combat sequences, we’ll again keep the target at 40 FPS in this action RPG. There was no problem cranking details to maximum, while also enabling 4x AA and 15x AF to further enhance the gaming experience.

Little CPU scaling is seen here, compared to the broader performance range of the Intel processors tested in Part 1. Nevertheless, all of these Phenom II processors basically breeze through Fallout 3. The Radeon HD 4850 is far outclassed by all the other cards, but still manages to deliver playable performance with minimum framerates of 41-43 fps.

The cheapest Phenom II X2 550 BE/Radeon HD 4850 combination is still capable of dishing out playable performance at this highly affordable 20-22” widescreen LCD resolution. Minimum framerates even remain above 30 FPS with each of the three processors.

Again, our cheapest Dragon platform delivers playable performance, even when pushing a 24” LCD resolution. Minimum frame rates now drop to 29-30 FPS, so gamers who demand smoother performance may want to step up to the more powerful GeForce GTX 260.

At 2560x1600, the dual-GPU cards start to pull away from the others. The 512MB Radeon HD 4850 is now reduced to unplayable performance, but the GeForce GTX 260 is able to reach the target and provide 28 minimum FPS with each processor. For just a bit more money, the Radeon HD 4890 manages about six frames higher in both minimum and average fps.

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  • Silvune
    I'd definitely be interested to see how the new Radeon cards would fit into these charts.
  • 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..
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.