Summary: Which CPU runs Battlefield 2142 faster, AMD or Intel? Does a larger L2 cache really play a huge role in performance, or is it minor? We've rounded up the latest CPUs from AMD and Intel to answer these questions. See the results inside!
Since Battlefield 2142 is based on the same game engine as its predecessor, Battlefield 2, BF2142 has not been programmed to take advantage of multi-threading. This means that the second core found in the latest dual-core CPUs sits unused in Battlefield 2142. In our series of game engine interviews last month, we asked DICE senior graphics programmer Marko Kylmamaa a couple of questions about this and other topics:
So basically Marko confirms that while Battlefield 2142 doesn’t take advantage of all the features found in today’s latest CPUs, it sounds like they’re working on integrating that in future titles. Unfortunately though it seems that won’t include Battlefield 2142.
In any case, we’re still eager to see how the game scales across various CPUs, so let’s get started!
Battlefield 2142 Beta
Battlefield 2142 – Direct3D
To see how much of an impact L2 cache size has on performance, we’re pitting a Core 2 Extreme CPU that’s been underclocked to the Core 2 Duo E6400’s stock speed of 2.13GHz, as well as the X2 5200+ against the 5000+. At 800x600, the underclocked 4MB cache Core 2 Extreme chip ran 6% faster than the 2MB Core 2 Duo running at the same speed, so the extra cache definitely gives the Extreme a nice boost in Battlefield 2142, we saw the same occur for the Athlon 64 X2s, with the 5200+ running 5% faster thanks to its larger 1MB L2 cache.
Battlefield 2142 – Direct3D
We also found that having a larger L2 cache benefits frame rate by up to six percent for Core 2 CPUs, and five percent for Athlon 64 X2. At higher clock speeds (read: overclocking) the differences would probably be even greater.
Of course, these numbers come at 800x600 with no AA and AF disabled. Once you’ve got the screen resolution cranked up to 1600x1200 the graphics card begins to bottleneck performance and performance across the various systems is nearly even. The Core 2 CPUs still came out ahead but the margin separating the two is less than 2%. Once you turn on the AA/AF, the demands on the GPU are even greater and the CPU plays less of a role in performance, although interestingly enough the Core 2 CPUs managed to pull a little further away from the AMD CPUs, finishing up to 5% faster in some cases.
What lessons can be learned from this? Well, if you’ve already got a pretty good CPU, you shouldn’t be in a rush to upgrade your processor just for Battlefield 2142. If you’ve got other uses in mind then by all means proceed with your upgrade, but otherwise you’d probably be better off spending that money elsewhere, such as your graphics card. Since it’s basically built on the same engine as Battlefield 2, BF2142 doesn’t take advantage of the latest features found in today’s high-end and mainstream CPUs such as dual-core, so most single-core CPUs should suffice just fine for this game, especially if you plan on playing with AA and AF turned on, which you’re going to want to do, as BF 2142 has a fair amount of tall grass/trees and other types of foliage and the jaggies on trees/branches, etc can get pretty irritating if you like crisp visuals. So basically, while the CPU does play an important role in performance, your most important upgrade will be your GPU.
With this in mind, in our next article we’ll be taking a look at how Battlefield 2142 performs with various mainstream graphics cards. Stay tuned!
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