Gaming Performance

Chances are that any gamer looking at an IVB-E system is also considering a pretty ridiculous GPU setup. NVIDIA sent along a pair of GeForce GTX Titan GPUs, totalling over 14 billion GPU transistors, to pair with the 4960X to help evaluate its gaming performance. I ran the pair through a bunch of games, all at 1080p and at relatively high settings. In some cases you'll see very obvious GPU limitations, while in other situations we'll see some separation between the CPUs.

I haven't yet integrated this data into Bench, so you'll see a different selection of CPUs here than we've used elsewhere. All of the primary candidates are well represented here. There's Ivy Bridge E and Sandy Bridge E of course, in addition to mainstread IVB/SNB. I threw in Gulftown and Nehalem based parts, as well as AMD's latest Vishera SKUs and an old 6-core Phentom II X6.

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is Irrational Games’ latest entry in the Bioshock franchise. Though it’s based on Unreal Engine 3 – making it our obligatory UE3 game – Irrational had added a number of effects that make the game rather GPU-intensive on its highest settings. As an added bonus it includes a built-in benchmark composed of several scenes, a rarity for UE3 engine games, so we can easily get a good representation of what Bioshock’s performance is like.

We're running the benchmark mode at its highest quality defaults (Ultra DX11) with DDOF enabled.

Bioshock Infinite, GeForce Titan SLI

We're going to see a lot of this I suspect. Whenever we see CPU dependency in games, it tends to manifest as being very dependent on single threaded performance. Here Haswell's architectural advantages are appearent as the two quad-core Haswell parts pull ahead of the 4960X by about 8%. The 4960X does reasonably well but you don't really want to spend $1000 on a CPU just for it to come in 3rd I suppose. With two GPUs, the PCIe lane advantage isn't good for much.

Metro: Last Light

Metro: Last Light is the latest entry in the Metro series of post-apocalyptic shooters by developer 4A Games. Like its processor, Last Light is a game that sets a high bar for visual quality, and at its highest settings an equally high bar for system requirements thanks to its advanced lighting system. We run Metro: LL at its highest quality settings, tesselation set to very high and with 16X AF/SSAA enabled.

Metro:LL, GeForce Titan SLI

The tune shifts a bit with Metro: LL. Here the 4960X actually pulls ahead by a very small amount. In fact, both of the LGA-2011 6-core parts manage very small leads over Haswell here. The differences are small enough to basically be within the margin of error for this benchmark though.

Sleeping Dogs

A Square Enix game, Sleeping Dogs is one of the few open world games to be released with any kind of benchmark, giving us a unique opportunity to benchmark an open world game. Like most console ports, Sleeping Dogs’ base assets are not extremely demanding, but it makes up for it with its interesting anti-aliasing implementation, a mix of FXAA and SSAA that at its highest settings does an impeccable job of removing jaggies. However by effectively rendering the game world multiple times over, it can also require a very powerful video card to drive these high AA modes.

Our test here is run at the game's Extreme Quality defaults.

Sleeping Dogs, GeForce Titan SLI

Sleeping Dogs shows similar behavior of the 4960X making its way to the very top, with Haswell hot on its heels.

Tomb Raider (2013)

The simply titled Tomb Raider is the latest entry in the Tomb Raider franchise, making a clean break from past titles in plot, gameplay, and technology. Tomb Raider games have traditionally been technical marvels and the 2013 iteration is no different. Like all of the other titles here, we ran Tomb Raider at its highest quality (Ultimate) settings. Motion Blur and Screen Effects options were both checked.

Tomb Raider (2013), GeForce Titan SLI

With the exception of the Celeron G540, nearly all of the parts here perform the same. The G540 doesn't do well in any of our tests, I confirmed SLI was operational in all cases but its performance was just abysmal regardless.

Total War: Shogun 2

Our next benchmark is Shogun 2, which is a continuing favorite to our benchmark suite. Total War: Shogun 2 is the latest installment of the long-running Total War series of turn based strategy games, and alongside Civilization V is notable for just how many units it can put on a screen at once. Even 2 years after its release it’s still a very punishing game at its highest settings due to the amount of shading and memory those units require.

We ran Shogun 2 in its DX11 High Quality benchmark mode.

Total War: Shogun 2, GeForce Titan SLI

We see roughly equal performance between IVB-E and Haswell here.

GRID 2

GRID 2 is a new addition to our suite and our new racing game of choice, being the very latest racing game out of genre specialty developer Codemasters. Intel did a lot of publicized work with the developer on this title creating a high performance implementation of Order Independent Transparency for Haswell, so I expect it to be well optimized for Intel architectures.

We ran GRID 2 at Ultra quality defaults.

GRID 2, GeForce Titan SLI

We started with a scenario where Haswell beat out IVB-E, and we're ending with the exact opposite. Here the 10% advantage is likely due to the much larger L3 cache present on both IVB-E and SNB-E. Overall you'll get great gaming performance out of the 4960X, but even with two Titans at its disposal you won't see substantially better frame rates than a 4770K in most cases.

Visual Studio, Photoshop, File Compression & Excel Math Perf Overclocking & Power Consumption
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  • DPOverLord - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    very interesting review coming from an i7-930 O/C to 4.3GHZ makes you debate if it makes sense to upgrade to the 4930K and a RIVE.

    For those considering there is also another benchmark review of the 3930K vs I7-930 on 2, 3, & 4 way TITAN SLI GK110 Scaling at 7680 x 1440 and 7680 x 1600. Worth a look.
    Reply
  • DPOverLord - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    very interesting review coming from an i7-930 O/C to 4.3GHZ makes you debate if it makes sense to upgrade to the 4930K and a RIVE.

    overclock.net/t/1415441/7680x1440-benchmarks-plus-2-3-4-way-sli-gk110-scaling/0_100

    For those considering there is also another benchmark review of the 3930K vs I7-930 on 2, 3, & 4 way TITAN SLI GK110 Scaling at 7680 x 1440 and 7680 x 1600. Worth a look.
    Reply
  • Remarius - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Really useful - I missed that thread somehow. Reply
  • Fierce Guppy - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Should nVidia's shadowplay turn out to be rubbish then I could use that CPU for encoding recorded gameplay, otherwise there's no benefit in having a 4960X over a 4770K. It won't improve my gaming experience any. Two GTX 780s will do that. Reply
  • scorpyclone - Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - link

    This is a great article for informing us about the latest and greatest architecture and chips, anyway I too have stuck with my powerhouse system since 2006, mine is the Q9550 and P35 mobo, DDR2 second generation SSD and so forth!
    It has been rock solid and frankly I don't think I remember the last time it crashed, come to think of it it has never crashed! (...and I am able to have all my progs running plus 30 plus instances of chrome, yeah I should do something about that!)
    So there you have it, now i m looking at the LGA 2011 with X79 and maybe (If i can convince myself of the benefits of having a six core system) an i7 4920 or40, ...but will probably go with their 4 core 10 or 12 meg cache cpus...the difference in having 2 more cores is 200 bux! I don't have any problem spending 3 bills on a nice CPU, but when it comes to 2 more bills just to get 2 more cores, I really cant convince myself of that, since i can think of so many other ways to spend those two bills with more return so to speak!
    So yeah building a powerhouse of a system that costs a little more but is rock solid and still faster than 90 percent of what is out there is worth it for me, and I am sure others will say the same!
    Or maybe I can just get the better P45 chipset, and stick with this system for another two to three years!
    Reply
  • Laphaswiff - Monday, December 09, 2013 - link

    δοκοῦσι δέ μοι Λακεδαιμόνιοι μάλα δεινῶν ἔργον ἀνθρώπων ποιεῖν. νῦν γάρ φασιν ἐκεῖνοι δεῖν Ἠλείους μὲν τῆς Τριφυλίας τινὰ κομίσασθαι, Φλειασίους δὲ τὸ Τρικάρανον, ἄλλους δέ τινας τῶν Ἀρκάδων τὴν αὑτῶν, καὶ τὸν Ὠρωπὸν ἡμᾶς, οὐχ ἵν' ἑκάστους ἡμῶν ἴδωσιν ἔχοντας τὰ αὑτῶν, οὐδ' ὀλίγου δεῖ· (17) ὀψὲ γὰρ ἂν φιλάνθρωποι γεγονότες εἶεν· ἀλλ' ἵνα πᾶσι δοκῶσι συμπράττειν, ὅπως ἕκαστοι κομίσωνται ταῦθ', ἅ φασιν αὑτῶν εἶναι, ἐπειδὰν δ' ἴωσ' ἐπὶ Μεσσήνην αὐτοί, συστρατεύωνται πάντες αὐτοῖς οὗτοι καὶ βοηθῶσι προθύμως, ἢ δοκῶσ' ἀδικεῖν, περὶ ὧν ἔφασαν ἕκαστοι σφῶν αὐτῶν εἶναι συμψήφους λαβόντες ἐκείνους, μὴ τὴν ὁμοίαν αὐτοῖς χάριν ἀποδιδόντες. Reply
  • SeanFL - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    I edit video from time to time and am currently using an i7-2600k system built in May of 2011. I've been looking at the 6 core i7-3930k, but not sure if it provides enough of an increase to build a new system. Are we closer to an 8 core solution coming out under $1000 in 2014? What's on the way? Reply
  • SeanFL - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    typo, meant looking at the i7-4930k. Still wondering, is 8 core under $1k on the way this year? Reply
  • MordeaniisChaos - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    You guys should really, really include ArmA as a benchmark for CPU gaming performance, as it sees pretty much constant improvements as the CPU gets more potent. I do not understand why more sites don't use A3 for CPU benchmarking when they touch on gaming performance. Reply

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