In the world of PC requirements, it can be hard to decide just how well your PC will run a game. With CPU requirements on the rise (as well as GPU requirements), one can become a bit unsure if their CPU can cope with the stress of modern big name games. Well my friends, today I will put your minds (hopefully) at ease. I ran a few benchmarks with my FX-8350 while playing Far Cry 4, and the results were quite surprising!
What I did was take my FX-8350 and lower the core count and core frequency with a little ingenuity. I turned it into a FX-6300, Athlon X4 730 and even an Opteron 1352. The FX-8350 at stock speed meets the Recommended requirements for Far Cry 4. The FX-6300 is just above the Minimum requirements. The Athlon X4 730 is a bit below the Minimum requirements. Last (and certainly least), the Opteron 1352 is well below the Minimum requirements.
I ran the same loop each time, roughly 3 minutes of going through the same route, engaging a few enemies and shooting a couple of tigers. Nothing dramatic changed throughout these runs. I ran the graphics at the Ultra preset, which also had SMAA anti-aliasing enabled. This was done across all four benchmarks, using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card.
The Far Cry 4 CPU FPS Results
FX-8350 - Min FPS:58 Max FPS: 92 Avg: 81
FX-6300 - Min FPS:57 Max FPS: 94 Avg: 79
Athlon X4 730 - Min FPS: 39 Max FPS: 82 Avg FPS: 58
Opteron 1352 - Min FPS: 19 Max FPS: 52 Avg FPS: 37
The FX-6300 had zero bottlenecking, thus producing roughly the same output of frames per second as the stock FX-8350.
The Athlon X4 730 displayed a slight bottleneck. CPU usage across all cores was around 75-85% and the GPU usage went down to 85-95%. Despite this, gameplay was still rock solid. With V-Sync enabled, you wouldn't even know there was an issue, minus the occasional lag.
Where it gets interesting is when the Opteron 1352 performance is benchmarked. This is a processor from way back in 2008. It's a quad-core CPU clocked at only 2.1Ghz. The bottlenecking was definitely at full force at this point. My CPU usage across all cores was pegged at 95-99% and my GPU usage dropped to a lowly 45-55%, but Far Cry 4 was still somewhat playable.
What have we learned from Far Cry 4 CPU bottleneck benchmarks
So what have we learned in terms of CPU bottlencking modern hardware on a modern game? Well firstly, it takes a CPU from back in 2008 to cripple a GTX 970. And so the data from today's exercise shows us that CPU requirements don't really matter a great deal in a games performance! What truly matters is how strong your GPU is, and that you try to avoid bottlenecking in your current rig.
Todays Conclusion - If there isn't a bottleneck present, then your PC will be able to play as well as the GPU requirements say you can, no matter if your processor doesn't even meet the minimum requirements. We will look to explore this hypothesis further in the coming weeks, hunting down games that are reported to lean specifically on the processor and then testing them in the same fashion.