Game Benchmark Results
All benchmarks were run with Windows 8.1 64-bit as the OS, and either AMD Catalyst 14.4 or NVIDIA GeForce 337.50 drivers (which were the most current when the testing was performed).
First off, every combination here managed to average over 30 FPS, so at “low” detail settings (which still look pretty good at 1080p) the game was playable. But look at the bottom four results! Regardless of CPU the R7 250 was completely outclassed by the other cards, which isn’t surprising given this lineup. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this big of a gap. Buy hey, a $79 card can game at 1080p (at least with BioShock, anyway).
Moving up to 60 FPS the R7 260X / Athlon 5350 build produced nearly that average across the test runs, but the same CPU with the GTX 750 managed a slightly higher average at 62.4 FPS, but did have a slight drop in the minimum frame rate. The higher-powered CPUs certainly made a difference with this game, as switching to an Athlon X4 760K or Pentium G3220 brought the average FPS up considerably with these GPUs and would have permitted playable results at higher detail settings.
Things were close at the top, but the overall leader here was the GTX 750 Ti / Pentium G3220 build with 109.4 FPS. (Not bad for a $399 system!)
Metro Last Light
Even at the lowest settings with the official benchmark tool, Metro Last Light proved a lot more demanding for these hardware configurations, and it didn’t provide a very consistent overall experience due to some stuttering on many of the test runs (the minimum observed FPS number is based on the lowest frame rate from any of the runs, and is not an average).
This game appears to be much more CPU dependent, and here we see results from the each GPU suffer when paired with either the Athlon 5350 and the Athlon X2 340X. The R7 250 is still at the bottom, but this time the frame rates just aren’t playable from any of the lower-end CPU combos – unless you consider 24 FPS playable, and to be honest it’s not bad. (Hey, it’s worked for the movie industry for decades after all!)
Essentially for a smooth gameplay experience at 1080p you’ll want to put a little more money into the CPU for Metro Last Light. The results for the Pentium G3220 and Athlon X4 760K were all very playable (other than those random hiccups resulting in the low min FPS numbers).
I won’t get too much into Thief here since I already talked about the lack of Mantle results here. Simply put, if you have the compatible hardware and drivers, Thief is much better on Mantle. In this case, I compared only DX11 results with all tested components for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Thief is pretty tough on lower-end hardware with DX11 (and looks very CPU bound), and the least expensive options at 30 FPS+ (actually 40+ in this case) came from the Pentium G3220 system with either a GTX750 or R7 260X, but the R7 260X is the clear price/performance winner of the group here with an impressive 46.1 FPS, second from the top!
Next we'll look at the synthetic benchmarks.