Age of Mythology, Freelancer, Morrowind

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Age of Mythology is our representative from the real-time strategy genre. Those who play these types of games will know that it’s important that a video card be able to keep up with potentially dozens of units on the screen. The last thing you want is laggy scrolling and poor frames just when you’re launching your decisive blow.

Age of Mythology

To test the MSI FX5600-VTDR128, I have updated the benchmark scenario so that the two 30 unit armies battle each other within a town (complete with livestock).

  • Color depth is 32 bits for all tests.
  • High detail models and textures are used.
  • No anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering.

Age of Mythology benchmarks.

From these results, you can see that the card holds it ground in the thick of a very large battle. The differences between 1024×768 and 1600×1200 is minumal, so feel free to play this game at the highest supported resolution. I did notice a little mouse lagging at 1600×1200 at the pinnacle of the benchmak. It is hard to say of this will affect you or not, just be aware that it may happen to you. Though the frame rates aren’t staggering, they good enough for a “worst case scenario”. With the Age of Mythology expansion coming this September, you’re going to want a video card that can handle this game.


Freelancer is a new game I’ve decided to add to the benchmarking suite. Those who have played this game know that this is an amazing game packed with intense epic-scale dogfights and some gorgeous graphics. For our testing, we are using the final mission in Freelancer. The sheer number of craft in this level is mind-blowing, so it’s perfect to test the abilities of a new video card.

  • All tests done with 32-bit color.
  • All details turned on maximum.

Freelancer 1-1 engaging the enemy.

  • 1024×768 Results

    Freelancer 1024x768 benchmarks.

    Though the numbers themselves don’t look particularly impressive (especially when compared to the numbers in UT2K3), rest assured that the game was very smooth and still playable. This mission is one of the biggest the player encounters in the whole game and the fact it’s able to play it properly at 0x0 to 2×8 says a lot. You can try playing at 4xAA or higher, but be prepared from some periodic slow-downs.

  • 1600×1200 Results

    Freelancer 1600x1200 benchmarks.

    At any setting higher than 0xAA, I noticed my mouse lagging all over the screen. I wasn’t able to target satellites properly and my torpedoes would go astray. 0x0 is probably your best bet here, but I suspect you will get some slow-down at points, especially when large objects explode on the screen (FPS drops drastically). You’re going to want to game at a lower resolution for Freelancer or adjust your detail settings.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

A fine day to swim in the Odai river in Balmora.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is an ambitious RPG that gained critical acclaim by critics and fans alike. One of the great features of Morrowind is the large expansive spaces and realistic environments. Among all of the locations available in Morrowind, the city of Balmora is one of the most stressful for a video card. The city features a pixel-shaded river running through the middle, a large number of buildings, and many characters walking in the streets — all of which help bring a capable card to its knees.

  • Pixelshading ON
  • 32 bits
  • Real-time shadows OFF
  • default fog draw distance

Morrowind 1600x1200 benchmarks. Morrowind 1600x1200 benchmarks.

Looking at these results, you can see that the MSI FX5600-VTDR128 has a hard time keeping up past 4×0 in 1024×768 details and pretty much all settings in 1600×1200. At 1600×1200, I noticed the mouse lagging at spots (especially when trying to target inventory items and menu options). I would suggest playing at something less than 1600×1200 if possible, or do some serious Morrowind tweaking.

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