AMD Phenom 9900 Performance Preview
By Vince Freeman :
December 24, 2007
Quake 4 Performance
Quake 4 is the latest in 3D first-person shooters from id Software and Raven, and while the actual storyline is standard fare and the game itself is based on the DOOM 3 engine, the graphics are exceptional and it is an improvement over previous games. The lighting and shadow effects are excellent, and the overall level design and architecture are a real treat. The overall load on the graphics card can be extreme, which is both a blessing and a curse, depending on the actual hardware you are testing. For this test, we have moved to the 1.4 revision, and enabled the game's multi-threaded functionality.
Quake 4 is based on the same engine as DOOM 3, and due to a combination of multi-threaded graphics drivers and in-game multi-core support, it also rewards the extra performance of our dual and quad core processors. The benchmark demo we use is extremely detailed, and the overall framerates are kept lower than usual. This is another nice surprise for AMD, as the Phenom 9900 offers the highest framerate, and the 2.4 GHz Phenom 9700 sits in second place. Given that Quake does offer multi-processor support, this may bode well for the Phenom architecture.
Prey is a serious first-person shooter from Human Head Studios and 3D Realms that uses a heavily modified version of the DOOM 3 engine. You take the role of Earth's savior in an all-out war against some very nasty alien invaders, all within a Matrix-like experience, and with some of the best computer game graphics you'll ever see. Our Prey benchmark is also a very serious game test that can push any system to its limits.
The Prey benchmark results get us back to the basic gaming scenario of dual core being more than enough for most games. The Phenom 9900 does quite well, but it still falls back of higher clocked Core 2 processors.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Performance
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is another in a long line of third-person games that rely on stealth and planning, rather than just hammering the fire button repeatedly. This innovative game design also gives our processors a different kind of test, which is very evident in the standard Ubisoft Lighthouse demo. The latest patches also enable SM3.0, which adds on yet another layer of attrition on the graphics card.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is an extremely demanding game benchmark, and one that fails to demonstrate much in the way of framerate differences between processors. While not particularly illuminating as a performance metric, it does show that not all games will benefit from a faster CPU with additional cores.