The next benchmarking section goes straight to the game arena, and we've selected a set of four benchmarks that exhibit at least some level of performance scaling. Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament 2004 make use of every bit of hardware you can toss at them, while Half-Life 2 and FarCry give us a slightly different view on the relationship between memory bandwidth and game performance.
Quake 3: Arena is an oldie but a goldie when it comes to gaming benchmarks and its design is still great for old school game testing. Quake 3 also happens to scale nicely to faster hardware, and it's an excellent judge of how higher DDR speeds can impact game performance. Quake 3 MAX testing is performed starting with High Quality settings, then racking in-game detail settings to maximum, and a 1024x768 resolution, using release 1.30, along with the standard "demo Four".
Our Quake 3: Arena performance scores show a decided edge to the higher-clocked memory, with the OCZ PC3700 at 480 MHz checking in at over 500 frames-per second. The 436 MHz results also tier down nicely, and the lower latency memory posts the highest results in the 400 MHz area. Quake 3 shows that in some games, both higher clock speeds and lower latency settings are important, with neither of them outweighing the other.
The Unreal Tournament 2004 demo is an upgraded version in the popular UT series, and also includes support for Botchmatch demos. This is the next step for Unreal Tournament graphics and performance, and is another serious test for high-end memory. For this benchmark, we've used the UMark GUI interface with the following settings: Colossus map, 12 players and High Image Quality graphics.
The UT 2004 Botmatch benchmarking tends to be more CPU-centric than Quake 3, but it is still easy to see the performance differences. The OCZ PC3700 at 480 MHz is the top dog, but once we get to the OCZ PC3700 and PC3200 at 436 MHz, we start to see a change. Both post nice results, but due to the higher latencies at this speed, the OCZ PC3200 and Corsair PC3200LL at 400 MHz actually post slightly higher framerates. In the case of UT 2004, you seem to need a lot of DDR clock speed to outweigh the benefits of 2-2-2-5 memory timing at standard 400 MHz operation.
FarCry is a hot new first-person shooter that takes in-game graphics to the next level, although in a different direction than DOOM 3. Instead of darkness and confined spaces, FarCry places you outdoors, on bright sandy beaches, jungles or even on the water itself. This game gives our high-end DDR a slightly different kind of a stress test, and rest assured that FarCry ranks up there with the very toughest 3D game benchmarks. For this test, we are using the full retail version, and the include in-game demo.
FarCry does not show the same type of separation as the previous two games, but this relates more to the lower overall framerates than anything else. Relatively speaking, you can still see the gaps, and once again the OCZ PC3700 overclocked to 480 MHz posted the top overall score. But when we compare the OCZ PC3700 and PC3200 at 436 MHz versus the 400 MHz low latency results, these are more of a dead heat, with no real advantage either way.
Half-Life 2 is the latest in a line of serious first-person shooters from Valve, and has really taken in-game graphics to the next level. This is a great opportunity to really push our high-end memory to the limit, as well as seeing how a CPU-limited benchmark compares to the others.
Half-Life 2 benchmarking shows us some extremely interesting results, and this is the first game test to show the OCZ PC3700 at 480 MHz finishing back in the pack, and the low latency PC3200 taking over. Half-Life 2 is obviously a game where low memory latency rules, which is likely due to the high CPU-reliance of the game and the need for fast memory access.