The Sims 4 Performance Analysis

Launched last year,¬†The Sims 4 is the latest entry in to Electronic Art’s best selling reality simulator. The game drew some negative attention at launch due to a number of features missing from previous games, but has been patched and expanded since launch and has still sold over a million copies since launch.

Whilst some have bemoaned the loss of open neighbourhoods and toddler Sims, one area where the title has improved over The Sims 3 is in its support for less powerful hardware, so we fired up the video capture card to see how the title hold up on Ultrabooks and lower-end systems.

Page 1: Clover Trail Atom and Bay Trail Atom, Celeron and Pentium performance
Page 2 : Intel ‘Sandy Bridge’ HD 3000 and ‘Ivy Bridge’ HD 4000 performance
Page 3: Intel ‘Haswell’ HD 4400, HD4600, HD5000 and Iris 5100 performance
Page 4: Intel ‘Broadwell’ HD 5300 and HD 5500 performance

Intel ‘Clover Trail’ Atom

Based on the original ‘Bonnell’ Atom core with PowerVR SGX545 graphics branded as Intel GMA 3650, the original Clover Trail Atom was typically found in early Windows 8 tablets and represents by far the weakest System on a Chip in our test suite.

The Sims 3 did not fare well on these systems, with a combination of poor performance and lighting issues giving a very poor user experience, but The Sims 4 actually perform somewhat better. In our testing we dug our old Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C and tested at 1366×768 and Low Detail settings. Frame rates were unimpressive, generally in the region of 10-20fps during gameplay, but the game did appear to render correctly and given the games fairly sedate nature it is possible to play the game on this tablet if you really want to play it and have nothing else available to you.


Intel ‘Bay Trail’ Atom/Celeron/Pentium

The successor to Clover Trail, Bay Trail uses the newer ‘Silvermont’ core combined with a cut down version of Intel’s own Gen 7 graphics core – branded simply as Intel HD Graphics.

Bay Trail has seen extensive usage not just in Windows 8.1 tablets, but also in a wide range of clamshell and miniature desktop systems, and has models released under more than just the Atom brand, its vastly improved performance allowing it to also make its way in to Celeron and Pentium branded products.

For our testing we used our trusty ASUS Transformer Book T100. Our particular test unit is an early US 64GB model with an Atom Z3740, with later models using either the Atom Z3735 or Z3770, but this should still give fairly accurate representative baseline level of performance for The Sims 4 across the full range of Bay Trail chips – Celeron and Pentium SKUs have higher power limits and therefore may offer slightly high frame rates.

Performance is a nice step up over the Clover Trail generation Atom’s, and in our test running at 1280×720 and Low-Medium detail with the “Laptop Mode” option selected we saw frame rates typically in the 20-60fps range depending on the complexity of the scenes.


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