CPU Bound Gaming Performance

While we always try to run our gaming benchmarks in CPU reviews as a balance between being CPU and GPU bound, there is some merit to using CPU bound gaming scenarios as a true measure of the gaming power of a CPU. 

The previous pages of gaming benchmarks were run at 1600 x 1200, which struck a good balance between being CPU and GPU bound on our CrossFire setup but here we’re looking at exactly how good of a gaming CPU the Core 2 Duo is.  By running these tests at 640 x 480 with the same CrossFire setup as before we’re ensuring that the performance bottlenecks in these titles shift as far as possible from the GPU and onto the CPU. 

These tests aren’t designed to tell you how fast these CPUs are at running these games, but rather how quickly they can run through the physics and AI code when not waiting on the graphics card at all. 

We chose to look at two CPUs: the Core 2 Extreme X6800 and the Athlon 64 FX-62, to get an idea of how strong each architecture was at pure physics/AI processing in games.  We also omitted any games whose performance didn’t change by dropping the resolution from 1600 x 1200 to 640 x 480 (meaning that those games were already predominantly CPU limited in our previous tests). 

 CPU Quake 4 HL2 Ep 1 F.E.A.R.  BF2
AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 156.7 170.0 164.0 108.7
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 192.5 263.5 236.0 142.3
Advantage (Intel) 22.8% 55.0% 43.9% 30.9%

 

In terms of sheer ability to process physics and AI as well as feed a hungry graphics subsystem, Intel's Core 2 Extreme X6800 is anywhere between 22 and 55% faster than AMD's Athlon 64 FX-62. 

While this doesn't mean much for real world gaming, it does cement the fact that Intel's Core 2 processor is significantly faster at the type of code current 3D games will throw at it.  The very same benchmarks that Intel used to complain about favoring AMD, now favor Intel just as much; oh how times have changed.

Gaming Performance using Oblivion Overclocking
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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Corrected, it was a misprint.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Zorba - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Why is the article talking about how Intel is killing AMD on power consumption when AMD is on the top for both idle and load? If you are doing a performance/watt ratio you need to show that on the graph. This page (page 7) just makes the how article look completely baised. Reply
  • Calin - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Because the EE SFF processors were hard to obtain by Anandtech even for testing purposes. I'm not sure they are available in retail market any more than Conroe is Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    The Core 2 Extreme X6800 has a performance per watt score of 0.3575 in WME9 compared to 0.2757 for the X2 3800+ EE SFF. I'll put together a performance per watt graph now and see if I can stick it in there.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    I included the performance per watt scores I mentioned above in the review now, hopefully that will make things a little more clear.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    I don't see the chart, Anand - I hope I didn't accidentally overwrite your change. Sorry! Reply
  • MrKaz - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Don't put it because it's a biased chart,

    Why based on WM9 benchmark? Why not one of the others?

    Why put it now, if you never put it when A64 was killing the P4s?
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Because AMD didn't real make a big deal about the performance per watt intiative back in the day. They focused on their price/performance instead. Reply
  • MrKaz - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    So?

    Just because Intel focuses now on that Anandtech must be obliged to put it?

    So for you where was the price/performance (A64 vs P4) charts on Anandtech reviews?
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Yeah, due to their making people aware of it, it has now become a issue.

    It was only after Prescott, that we became more aware that thermals were starting to get out of control and paid more attention to wattage numbers.

    Price/Performance is not as hard to calculate.
    Reply

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