Single-GPU Gaming TestsKeep in mind once more that for our real-world gaming tests below we included BOTH 1024×768 results (for maximum CPU effectiveness) and resolutions of 1920×1200 and 2560×1600 to simulate gaming that YOU, as a consumer, would actually be doing and what performance differences these CPUs and platforms will provide.
A reliable and popular benchmark, 3DMark Vantage can provide a good insight into overall gaming performance of a system.
Obviously the CPU scores are inflated on the systems that support 8 threads and only those final 3DMark scores stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, the i5-750 and the rest of the Core 2 and AMD processors are very neatly compacted in performance.
World in Conflict
Most RTS games are more CPU intense that other titles and World in Conflict is no exception.
At 1024×768 the range of average frame rate is pretty noticeable from the 85 FPS of the Core i7-975 to the 61 FPS of the Q8400. However, the higher resolutions show that the CPU scaling on World in Conflict is pretty minimal: at 1920×1200 the gap is only 55 FPS to 61 FPS and at 2560×1600 the gap shrinks to 41 FPS and 44 FPS.
Left 4 Dead
Developed by a new team of Valve’s, Left 4 Dead is a single or multi-player game that encompasses the most automatic story for a shooter: zombie apocalypse. The team aspect of the title, based on Valve’s Source engine, really makes this a unique gaming experience that I think all PC gamers should be required to play.
The results are pretty much the same here with Left 4 Dead: the 1024×768 resolution results show that the Core i5/i7 processors have a performance advantage that simply disappears at both 1920×1200 and 2560×1600 testing.
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 pairs impressive visuals with a truly interactive and destructible environment.
Far Cry 2’s result are probably the most interesting: yes the performance still definitely levels out from 1024×768 to 2560×1600 but the Core 2 and AMD Phenom processors actually have the best results here at those higher resolutions.
Valve Source Particle Simulation
Valve released this particle simulation test a while back for benchmarking platforms and CPUs.
Though not a real-world game by any stretch, if someone like Valve believes that multi-threaded is important for gaming in the future, then you should probably believe them. Here you can see the Core i7 lineup has the clear advantage with its 8 available processing threads while the i5-750 is able to beat out the Q9650 by a slimmer margin.
Valve Source Map Compilation
More of a developer test than gamer test, this benchmark is indicative of how long it takes a system to compile a map.
For developers looking to increase productivity, the Core i7-975 is definitely the best option though the new Lynnfield CPUs are fast as well.