Our test session in Crysis 2 was only 60 seconds long, mostly for the sake of ensuring a precisely repeatable sequence.
Notice the spike at the beginning of the test run; it happens on each and every CPU. You can feel the hitch while playing. Apparently the game is loading some data for the area we're about to enter or something along those lines.
Here's a closer look at the spike on a subset of the processors. The duration of the pause appears to be at least somewhat CPU dependent. The A8-3850 APU takes nearly a third of a second to complete the longest frame, while the Ivy-based 3770K needs less than half of that time.
The FPS averages and 99th percentile results nearly mirror each once again, and we appear to be running into a potential GPU bottleneck on the fastest CPUs, which are bunched together pretty closely in both metrics. Fortunately for AMD, the FX processors don't seem to have any trouble outperforming their predecessors in this test scenario. All of them remain slower than the Intel chips from two generations back, though.
Whoa. Check out the tails in those Intel latency curves. Notice how the Core i5-2400's tail spikes upward just a little before the 2500K's, which spikes a little before the 2600K's. The same pattern is evident for the three Ivy-based CPUs, too. I'm sorry, but that is awesome. Remember, I played through these test sessions manually, five per CPU, attempting but never quite succeeding to play exactly the same way. To see our data line up like by CPU speed grade is ridiculously gratifying.
What it tells is that there are measurable differences between the Intel CPUs' performance in the last 5-7% of frames rendered. The faster processors do a better job of keeping frame latencies low—and thus gameplay smooth.
Some proportion of the frames in this scenario present difficulty for each of the CPUs, whether it's the final ~3% on the fastest processors, the final ~15% on the Core i5-760, or the final ~35% on the FX-6200. The tails for the different chips vary in shape quite a bit, and if you look at the frame time plots above, you can see the intermittent spikes that represent those frames. The spikes are smaller and less frequent on the faster processors. To keep things in perspective, though, even the slowest AMD chips deliver 99% of their frames in under 33 milliseconds, or over 30 FPS.
When we focus directly on the severity of slowdowns, the two top FX processors again fall behind their Phenom II counterparts, although only by the slimmest of margins. Again, the AMD processors are up to the task of running this game, but they perform similarly to Intel's older, low-end parts.
Meanwhile, we should point out a trend on the Intel side of the aisle, which is the ongoing strong performances in our latency-related metrics for the Ivy Bridge processors. Here, the relatively affordable Core i5-3470 wastes less time on long-latency frames than the $1K Core i7-3960X does. Yeah, we're splitting eyelashes, but it's true. The tweaked microarchitecture in Ivy Bridge counts for something, and I suspect the 22-nm chips also spend a little more time resident at their peak Turbo clock frequencies.
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