When Civilization V was released in late 2010, it continued the Civilization series’ reputation as one of the most popular turn-based strategy series on the PC. For Civilization V, Firaxis developed a new game engine that was designed from the outset to take advantage of multi core CPUs. Previous Civ games, like many strategy titles, quickly became CPU bound when the map became filled with many units, so Firaxis designed the new engine to be as efficient as possible to handle these stressful scenarios.
For our Civ V test, we will be using the built-in “Late Game” benchmark provided with the retail version of the game. To run the benchmark, a user must either create a shortcut to CivilizationV.exe with the name of one of the benchmarks included in the “Target” field or enter the command into the console window while in game. Here, we are using the “-benchmark lateGameView” command. The Late Game View benchmark simulates a scenario where many units are on-screen at once, making this benchmark quite stressful on both the GPU and the CPU. The built-in benchmark generates a score after running the test, but we prefer to measure a more traditional frames per second value using Fraps.
In general, performance remains unchanged with the BallistiX. However, one area that did show significant improvement is the minimum FPS at 1280×1024, with a 7% improvement. It appears that whatever computation that causes the FPS to drop a bit is sensitive to system RAM bandwidth, resulting in a noticeable increase in rendering speed.