Team Fortress 2 Multi-Core Investigation

Yesterday we brought you the news that Valve has added support for multi-core CPU’s in its latest update of Team Fortress 2. Today we tested that feature, and you will find the results quite interesting.

Hardware Used:

CPU: Intel Q9450 @ 3.2 GHz

Motherboard : GIGABYTE EX-38 DS4

RAM: GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 800Mhz 5-4-4-12

GPU: Palit 9800GT 1GB @ 600/1500/900 MHz

Drivers Used: Nvidia GeForce 182.08 Beta WHQL

OS: Windows Vista x64 SP1


For our testing we used 1280×1024 resolution and enabled all the highest settings in the video menu in Team Fortress 2. Our only variable was the Multi-Core option. We proceeded to record a 1 Min timedemo while playing online by using the “record timedemoname” command in the console . The demo was played back at normal speed with the demoplayer which can be accessed by pressing Shift+F2. The timedemo involves playing as a soldier and killing some people in the process as well as getting killed ! :cry:

line-graph

column-graph


We see some considerable gains with multi-core option enabled. NOTE: This feature is currently in testing stage right now. So we may get some more gains in future. In the following screenshot you will see the CPU core usage with this option enabled and disabled. This screenshot was created with the help of Rivatuner’s Hardware Monitor. We can clearly see the 2,3 and 4 cores being  utilized with the multi-core option enabled.

cpu-usage

Hats off to Valve ! Although Source engine games do not require a beefy rig to play comfortably, enabling multi-core support should help out people with lower end components if they happen to have a multi-core CPU. This should help the transition to multi-core software which is lacking, considering multi-core hardware has been available for a long time now.


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  • cusideabelincoln

    I am so thankful Valve did this. Hopefully it fixes, or at the very least reduces, the crashing I was getting when enabling multi-core support in the past via the console. Without multi-core support, I definitely notice my framerate drops to 30 or a little below on some occasions on various 32-player matches. I’m glad my minimum framerates will improve! Oh and BTW do you have any subjective (as objectively as possible) comments to add to your testing? I think they will be just as helpful to see if multi-core really does improve the gameplay experience, because in the past I know it has for me.