Up to this point, PC games have been predominantly single-threaded in nature. While dual-core processors have been on the market for just over six months, and Intel’s Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading technology first debuted over three years ago, game developers really haven’t taken the time out to rewrite their software to take advantage of either of these technologies – game engines have continued to trudge along one thread at a time.
That’s finally starting to change though. With dual-core processors gaining in popularity on the PC desktop, and upcoming next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony containing multiple processor cores, game developers are finally starting to focus more of their time on optimizing their software to exploit these hardware developments. Late last year id/Raven collaborated with Intel on incorporating multithreading support into Quake 4, and as you saw in our Quake 4 dual-core performance article
, the results were pretty dramatic: we saw gains of up to 69% for Intel’s dual-core CPUs, while Hyper-Threading bought a nice performance boost to the Pentium 4 as well.
And while AMD wasn’t involved even in the project, the Athlon 64 X2 saw substantial performance improvements also.
Now Infinity Ward is getting in on the game too, releasing their dual core patch for Call of Duty 2 merely 10 days after id on Dec 22nd. Like the Quake 4 patch, the Call of Duty 2 patch promises performance improvements for users with dual-core processors, multiple processor systems, and Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading Technology.
With this in mind, we were eager to check it out. Call of Duty 2 is a very graphically-intense game, and as we’ve noted in past is very demanding of even the latest high-end hardware. If this new CoD 2 patch can deliver performance improvements similar to the Quake 4 patch, it could make a dual-core processor a must-have hardware item for any Call of Duty 2 enthusiast.
To accomplish this, we’ve gathered dual-core hardware from both AMD and Intel, as well as a wide range of graphics cards. We were eager to see how CoD 2 performance scaled with faster processors, so we’ve included the Athlon 64 X2 4200 and the flagship X2 4800+ from AMD. (The X2 4800+ not only runs 200MHz faster than the X2 4200+, it also contains twice the cache, with the X2 4800+ outfitted with 1MB of L2 cache per core versus 512KB in the X2 4200+.) On the graphics side, we’ve included cards ranging from the Radeon X800 XL to the Radeon X1800 XT 512MB (dual-core enhancements found in NVIDIA’s current ForceWare drivers interfere with the patched versions of both CoD 2 and Quake 4).
Finally, we included Intel’s dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition 840.