SimCity Tested, Benchmarked

By on March 19, 2013, 1:11 AM

When Maxis announced last year that a sixth installment in the SimCity franchise was coming the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. From the announcement, it looked to be a dramatic overhaul from previous titles featuring full 3d graphics, online multiplayer gameplay, a new engine as well as several new features and gameplay changes.

Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. This generally requires an hour or two of gameplay and then we get to test in full. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming. Because the game's progress is stored on EA servers it’s not possible to just download and use someone else’s saved game of a massive city.

There are a few pre-built cities, such as the one used in the tutorial “Summer Shoals” but with a population of less than 4000 sims it doesn’t exactly make for the most demanding test environment. Therefore we created a city with half a million sims and three more cities just like it on the map.

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User Comments: 26

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LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Great review Steve! Looks like this is top of my "most wanted" game list.

Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

Thorough as always Steve. This game is way more demanding than I thought it would be.

compact said:

Steve how 560ti medium qyality 1200p that become or are faster 580/670 than iand the same as the 680?

1 person liked this | LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Steve how 560ti medium qyality 1200p that become or are faster 580/670 than iand the same as the 680?

Good question. He's trying to say "How is it that the 560ti performs better than the 580 and 670 and the same as the 680 at 1200p medium quality"

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Good question. He's trying to say "How is it that the 560ti performs better than the 580 and 670 and the same as the 680 at 1200p medium quality"

Sorry guys very minor copy and paste error which showed the GTX 560 Ti being 2fps faster than it really was. The 2560x1600 results probably look more like what you would expect as there are less CPU limitations here.

compact said:

:D Hahahaha!!:D

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Nice test! Was hoping we would see some sort of benchmark for Simcity 5. I remember 4 killing my comp back when it came out.

Oh and Simoleons is technically the sim currency not simcity citizens iirc

EEatGDL said:

Yeah, the memory lane. I think I saw for the first time SC2000 in the PS of an uncle and then looked for it to play in my PC, short after I sticked a long time with SC3000; tryed SC 4 and didn't like it.

Yeah, those were the days. It looks fine, but I would prefer totally single player as it used to be; but didn't imagine it was quite demanding.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Thanks Steve.

1 person liked this | amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

With games like this so reliant on calculation frequency it would be nice to see a CPU chart with all the chips at or near the same clock speed. Personally I would love to see how the 920 at 3.5Ghz stacks up against the 3770k.

howzz1854 said:

I would love to see how my 5 year old Q6600 clocked at 3.7ghz would fair. I am holding out as long as possible until the wheels fall off on this one. the Q6600 has got to be the best investment for CPU ever, clocked at 3.7~4ghz served me for 5+ years and ate every game I threw at it, now it's starting to show its age.

Guest said:

You guys need to start using frame latency testing as that tells a much more accurate story than fps numbers.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

You guys need to start using frame latency testing as that tells a much more accurate story than fps numbers.

We do include frame latency testing in our GPU reviews, just not the game performance articles as there is way too much testing involved and displaying that much data just isn't possible.

JC713 JC713 said:

This game is almost as unoptimized as the gameplay lol.

Thorough as always Steve. This game is way more demanding than I thought it would be.

It isnt demanding, it is just badly optimised. The frame rates barely nudge from 1920x1200 to 2560x1600.

2 people like this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Wow that's some terrible fps. I wouldn't be surprised if the bottleneck is the server.

You could be waiting on the calculations, bottlenecked by the other players... or even a form of "onLive' streaming wouldn't surprise me.

JC713 JC713 said:

Wow that's some terrible fps. I wouldn't be surprised if the bottleneck is the server.

You could be waiting on the calculations, bottlenecked by the other players... or even a form of "onLive' streaming wouldn't surprise me.

Yeah why would they all be constant? That seems right.

Guest said:

I play this on my laptop (using intel core i5 2.30GHz, 6 GB ram and nVidia GEFORCE GT540M with 1 GB) and it works fine... my settings are all on high but loading times are a bit slow.

Guest said:

"Meanwhile seriously old GPUs such as the Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce GTX 460 will work as well."

What about us gamers with "seriously even older" cards like the 8800GT 512? I wish your benchmark testing was more inclusive to those with older PCs. We are the ones that need to know whether we can run it, and at what quality.

:(

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

That would be too depressing to include in modern benchmarks... plus you'd quickly run into memory limitations.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

"Meanwhile seriously old GPUs such as the Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce GTX 460 will work as well."

What about us gamers with "seriously even older" cards like the 8800GT 512? I wish your benchmark testing was more inclusive to those with older PCs. We are the ones that need to know whether we can run it, and at what quality.

You really expect us to include 6 year old hardware? I really thought including some 3 year old cards was stretch. Our advice for any one trying to game with a GeForce 8 series, 9 series or 200 series graphics card is to upgrade.

Phr3d said:

I am always pleasantly surprised when you include the older hardware and I thank you for that.

My PITA comment is please include a cast iron I-5 2500K @ 3.8GHz-ish (min OC), simply because it sold a million-billion copies and qualifies as a good baseline to compare the newer CPUs.

just an opinion, please don't get mad.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I am always pleasantly surprised when you include the older hardware and I thank you for that.

My PITA comment is please include a cast iron I-5 2500K @ 3.8GHz-ish (min OC), simply because it sold a million-billion copies and qualifies as a good baseline to compare the newer CPUs.

just an opinion, please don't get mad.

Oh MAN you made me SO MAD right now! >

/sarcasm

scitmonr scitmonr said:

"Meanwhile seriously old GPUs such as the Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce GTX 460 will work as well."

What about us gamers with "seriously even older" cards like the 8800GT 512? I wish your benchmark testing was more inclusive to those with older PCs. We are the ones that need to know whether we can run it, and at what quality.

:(

I tried the game with my 8800GT and Q6600. I didn't switch AA on and lowered some shadow settings. I was getting 15-20fps on smallish citys, perfectly playable for this type of game. I have no idea how it would have coped with cities of 500,000 tho. I've done a modest upgrade to a 7750 now.

Guest said:

To me the most bang for buck *platform* is any 970 mobo and an FX-4k Vishera! Any board allows u to OC unlike Intel and paired with a HD 7850 it makes for a low cost Sim5 gaming rig!

James

Guest said:

You really expect us to include 6 year old hardware? I really thought including some 3 year old cards was stretch. Our advice for any one trying to game with a GeForce 8 series, 9 series or 200 series graphics card is to upgrade.

Yes, or rather, you could consider which cards you include based on sales figures. The 8800 series was a very successful series. Performance-wise, the 8800 GT is similar to some of the lower-end cards included in your analysis.

Funny how I can play Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, and Dota 2 on medium to high settings, but I'm told I should upgrade...

Guest said:

What he has failed to mention is Sim city is HORRIBLY optimized at the time these test were done.

A GTX Titan getting only 52 FPS on mid quality??? Yea right, Give me a break EA.

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