MSI P965 Neo-F For Core 2 Duo - Game Performance and Benchmarking

Article Index
MSI P965 Neo-F For Core 2 Duo
Board Layout - Up Close
Very Standard BIOS - Lean on Tweaking
Test Setup and Early Benchmarks
Application Benchmarks - Continued...
Game Performance and Benchmarking
Game Benchmarking - Continued...
Overclocking the P965 Neo-F
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Game Benchmarking:

We have started to get performance numbers for game much differently that we have in the past.  We used to use time demos and a lot of synthetic benchmarks to get our performance numbers.  While these do have a place in inter-platform testing, they do leave a great big hole in the CPU performance of a game.  Canned benchmarks don't typically take into account CPU load due to AI and Sound that we experience in real-world game play. 

For our performance numbers in the following game tests we used FRAPS to gather frame rate data, then we charted the CSV files in OpenOffice 2.0.3 to get our chart information.  We ran each of the benchmarks a minimum of three times, averaged the results and charted the averaged numbers.  Some games lend themselves to easy repetition of a map and others are more difficult due to the AI involved.  In a real world scenario, Battlefield 2 was impossible to keep consistent as the AI chose different numbers of bots to travel to the same flag every time we loaded the map.  Below are the games that we felt were repetitive and interesting enough to be included in our head-to-head.

All of the games were ran at 800x600 with medium to low detail so that the graphics system would not be the bottleneck.

Age Of Empires 3:

Age Of Empires is a very CPU intensive game as it requires a lot of cycles to run the AI of the enemy.  I really expected the results to be fairly even as they were very comparable when running the Pentium D against the Core 2 Duo in a previous article.  Things ran a little different when we swapped motherboards however.  I was a little surprised at the results.

Age Of Empires 3
Age Of Empires 3

This test blew me away.  When we were comparing Core 2 Duo vs Pentium D performance on the Intel board, the results looked very similar.  When comparing board to board we can see that the MSI motherboard pounds the PCB out of the Intel board.

Call Of Duty 2:

Call of Duty 2 is a very impressive game to play.  It is very immersive as the story plays out well.  The audio and video of this game are very demanding and it can bring most mid-range systems to their knees when playing at larger resolutions.  We kept everything in check at 800x600 so we could see the impact that the motherboard has on this game.

Call Of Duty 2
Call Of Duty 2

Half-Life 2: Episode 1:

I've enjoyed the Half-Life series from the beginning and I remember playing the original on a Voodoo 3.  Half-Life 2 has a bit higher requirements, and Half-Life 2: Episode 1 is even more demanding on a system.  We turned down the resolution to 800x600 and left everything else medium to see how the CPU affected this game.

Half-Life 2: Episode 1
Half-Life 2: Episode 1

These first game tests are quite interesting.  While we saw very little difference between CPU's on the Intel board in the past, the MSI P965 Neo-F shows greater improvement over the Intel board.  There is a huge performance improvement in both Age Of Empires 3 and Call of Duty 2 as you can see above.  Half-Life 2:Episode 1 shows somewhat slower performance on the MSI board and I can't explain why.  We ran these tests many times and came up with the same results.

We'll continue our game tests on the next page.