Bethesda's epic sword & magic game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is our RPG of choice for benchmarking. It's altogether a good CPU benchmark thanks to its complex scripting and AI, but it also can end up pushing a large number of fairly complex models and effects at once. This is a DX9 game so it isn't utilizing any of IVB's new DX11 functionality, but it can still be a demanding game.

Ivy Bridge does very well in Skyrim, not able to reach 60 fps but still above 30 at up to 1680 x 1050. The gains over Sandy Bridge are significant at nearly 50%. Meanwhile Ivy Bridge also gets surprisingly close to Llano, bringing the gap down to 10% at 1366 and 18% at 1680. Seeing as how Skyrim is not particularly shader heavy at these settings, Ivy Bridge looks to be largely shrugging off its biggest bottleneck here in favor of pure pixel pushing power.

Intel HD 4000 Performance: Starcraft II Intel HD 4000 Performance: Minecraft
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  • hechacker1 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    VT-d is interesting if you run ESXi or a Linux based hyper visor, as they allow to utilize VT-d to directly assign hardware to the virtual machines. I think you can even share hardware with it.

    In Linux for example you could host Windows and assign it a real GPU and get full performance from it.

    A while ago I built a machine with that idea in mind, but the software bits weren't in place just yet.

    I too with for an overclockable VT-d part.
    Reply
  • terragb - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Just to add to this, all the processors do support VT-x which is the potentially performance enhancing spec for virtualization. Reply
  • JimmiG - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Really annoying how Intel decides seemingly at random which parts get VT-d and which don't.
    Why do you get it with the $174 i5 3450, but not with the "one CPU to rule them all", everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, $313 i7 3770K?
    It's also a stupid way to segment your product line, since 99% of the people buying systems with these CPUs won't even know what it does.

    This means AMD also gets some of my money when I upgrade - I'll just build a cheap Bulldozer system for my virtualization needs. I can't really use my Phenom II X4 for that after upgrading - it uses too much power and it's dependent on DDR-2 RAM, which is hard to find and expensive.
    Reply
  • dcollins - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    VT-d is required to support Intel's Trusted Execution Platform, which is used by many OEMs to provide business management tools. That's why the low end CPUs have support and the enthusiast SKUs do not. VT-d provides no benefit to Desktop users right now because desktop virtualization packages do not support it.

    I agree that it is frustrating having to sacrifice future-proofing for overclocking, but Intel's logic kind of makes sense. Remember, any features that can be disabled will increase yields which means lower prices (or higher margins).
    Reply
  • JimmiG - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - link

    VirtualBox, which is one of the most popular desktop virtualization packages, does support VT-d. In fact it's required for 64-bit guests and guests with more than one CPU being virtualized.

    Does VT-d really use so many transistors that disabling it increases yields? AMD keep their hardware virtualization features enabled even in their lowest-end CPUs (even those where entire cores have been disabled to increase yields)
    Reply
  • dgingeri - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    "I took the last Harry Potter Blu-ray, stripped it of its DRM and used Media Espresso to make it playable on an iPad 2 (1024 x 768 preset)."

    I wouldn't admit that in print, if I were you. The DMCA goblins will come and get you.
    Reply
  • p05esto - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    They can say they're just kidding and used it as an example, because they would "never" actually do that. I think pirate cops would need more than talk to go to court. Imagine how bad this site would rip into them if they said anything, lol. Reply
  • XJDHDR - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Why? No-one loses money from transcode benchmarks. Besides, piracy is the real problem. If it didn't exist, there would be no DRM to strip away. Reply
  • dgingeri - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Sure, nobody loses any money, but the entertainment industry pushed DMCA through, and they will use it if they think they could get any profit out of it. It's one law, out of many, that isn't there to protect anyone. It's there so the MPAA and RIAA can screw people over. Reply
  • copyrightforreal - Monday, April 23, 2012 - link

    Don't pretend you know shit about copyright law when you don't.

    Ripping a DVD you own is NOT illegal under the DMCA or Copyright act.

    Wikipedia article that even you will be able to comprehend:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping#Circumvention...
    Reply

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