Quake 3: Arena is an oldie but a goldie when it comes to gaming benchmarks and its design really shows off some of the advantages of the AMD and Intel processors. Quake 3 is both floating-point intensive and has support for SIMD optimizations (MMX, 3DNow! and SSE), making it a great fit for processor testing. It also happens to scale nicely to faster CPUs, video cards and motherboards, and Quake 3 performance is still used as a barometer for many CPU and 3D video card purchases.
Quake 3 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".
The Quake 3 benchmarking shows us the basic pattern of increased clock speed equating to higher performance, with no real change in trends in overall ranking. The positioning of the base Celeron D 335 and Sempron 3100+ are duplicated when overclocked, although the Celeron does make up some ground. Still, even at 3.55 GHz, the Celeron can't overtake the Pentium 4-3.0E, while the overclocked Sempron 3100+ does, and even takes a run at the Athlon 64 3400+.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a good system benchmark, but we're giving the nod to the updated version: Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. This game has made a few revisions to the basic RtCW design, as well as solidifying the features support. The setup is the same as Quake 3, with a 1024x768 resolution, and High quality defaults with in-game detail settings at maximum. We have used a custom demo taken from the Railgun game area, along with plenty of MP participants. This is one tough demo test, so expect the framerates to sink below those of Quake 3, and give our processors a much tougher workload.
The Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory scores are very similar to the trends and rankings we saw in Quake 3, with the overclocked Celeron D 335 and Sempron 3100+ at the same relative positions. And again, the Celeron D 335 can't quite match the Pentium 4-3.0E, and the Athlon 64 3400+ proves again to be a bit much for the Sempron 3100+ at 2.15 GHz.
The Comanche 4 benchmark from Novalogic gives us an opportunity to use an actual flight sim for performance testing. Flight sims are notorious for their CPU-dependence, and this makes the Comanche 4 benchmark potentially a better CPU test than it is for 3D video cards. The reliance on the CPU shows itself off in the benchmark, and even the slightest difference in framerates could pay off in significantly enhanced game framerates. For our processor comparison, all testing has been performed at 1024x768, 32-bit with audio disabled.
The Celeron D 335 shows it Prescott lineage in Comanche 4 benchmarking, and posts a score significantly lower than the AMD processors. Relative performance is still roughly equivalent, and the overclocked Celeron D 335 equals the framerate posted by the Pentium 4-2.8E. The base and overclocked scores of the Sempron 3100+ are much better, but still can't come close to the Athlon 64 3400+.