Quake 3: Arena may be getting a little old when it comes to gaming benchmarks, but its old school design not only rewards pure horsepower, but also shows some of the advantages of the AMD and Intel processors. Quake 3 is floating-point intensive and has support for SIMD optimizations (MMX, 3DNow! and SSE), which makes it a great fit for processor testing. It also happens to scale nicely to faster CPUs, video cards and motherboards, and Quake 3 performance continues to be the basis 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 framerates are definitely a bit out there, but that's one of the consequences of lower-resolution CPU testing, and trying to remove the graphics card from the equation. But like all benchmark tests, it's not the score that counts, but the relative placing. In that sense, the Core 2 processors score another very impressive victory, and set some extremely high performance records as well. One of the best things about these Quake 3 results is proving that the Core 2 Extreme and Duo not only support the newest features, but also have a ton of old school game performance under the hood.
Unreal Tournament 2003 includes a benchmark program that automatically tests in two separate modes. The one we're going to be looking at is Flyby, which takes a canned tour of the UT game world, then offers up a framerate score and really hammers both the CPU and video card. The Botmatch results are no longer shown, instead leaving that for the improved Unreal Tournament 2004 to supply.
The Unreal Tournament 2003 performance scores follow the above trend, and show the Core 2 processors with a huge lead over their competitors. Once again, these results are off the chart and if you think the Core 2 Extreme X6800 outdistances the Athlon 64 FX-62 by a mile, then check out the gap between it and the Pentium D 900 series.
Unreal Tournament 2004 is an upgraded version of the popular UT series, and includes support for Botmatch demos. This is the next evolution for Unreal Tournament graphics and performance, and is yet another serious test for current PC hardware. Botmatch performance is also more reflective of CPU power than Flyby, giving UT 2004 special significance in processor testing. For this benchmark, we've used the UMark GUI interface with the following options and settings: 3 Botmatch maps, 12 players and maximum detail graphics.
As we start moving into new games, we expect the performance gaps to start dropping, and Unreal Tournament 2004 certainly demonstrates this. The Core 2 Extreme and Duo processors are still by far the top performers, but at least the Athlon 64 X2 and FX models are still in the same area code.