FarCry 2

We utilize the Ranch Small demo file along with the Playback Action demo to see the differences between GPU and CPU centric benchmarks. The Ranch demo is GPU centric while the Playback demo tends to be CPU centric. We run each benchmark five times and report the median score.

FarCry 2

First off, FarCry 2 has always performed extremely well on the X58 chipset compared to other chipsets with the ATI video cards. This game responds very well to PCIe bandwidth, something the X58 has in droves. The stock HD 5870 single card x8 configuration is 6% slower in average frame rates and 10% slower in minimum frame rates in this particular benchmark. Even the 4.2GHz single card result is slower than either the stock P55 or X58 setups.

The stock single card HD 5870 P55 platform is 3% slower than the X58 even with a 100MHz processor advantage in turbo mode. At 4.2GHz, both platforms are about even although minimum frame rates are about 4% better on X58. However, even with this benchmark advantage, there was no difference in actual game play, especially considering minimum frame rates are above 70fps in each instance.

FarCry 2

The P55 results improve slightly as we move to a more CPU centric benchmark. The stock HD 5870 single card x8 configuration is only 2% slower in average frame rates and only 1% in the overclocked results. Comparing single card results between the P55 and X58, we see a 2% difference in favor of the X58 at stock speeds while at 4.2GHz the P55 finishes slightly ahead of the X58.

The pertinent data for CrossFire scaling is in the tables below. What we are looking for is the percentage speedup going from one to two HD 5870s on X58 and P55. In theory, X58 should have improved percentages because each GPU gets 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes while Lynnfield only provides 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes per GPU.

FarCry 2 CrossFire Scaling – Average Frame Rates

ATI HD 5870 CF Scaling FarCry 2 – Ranch Small FarCry 2 – Playback Action FarCry 2 – Ranch Small 4.2GHz FarCry 2 – Playback 4.2GHz
Intel Core i7 920 (X58) 66.8% 9% 81.8% 42.5%
Intel Core i7 860 (P55) 59.8% 10.6% 75.8% 44.4%

Based on our single card results, there are not a lot of surprises here. At stock speeds, the X58 has a 7% scaling advantage over the P55 and 6% when overclocked in the GPU centric Ranch demo. In the Playback Action benchmark, the results favor the P55 by almost 2%.

FarCry 2 CrossFire Scaling – Minimum Frame Rates

ATI HD 5870 CF Scaling FarCry 2 – Ranch Small FarCry 2 – Playback Action FarCry 2 – Ranch Small 4.2GHz FarCry 2 – Playback 4.2GHz
Intel Core i7 920 (X58) 41.1% 3.6% 77.9% 30.5%
Intel Core i7 860 (P55) 32.4% 3.6% 78.4% 28.3%

Minimum frame rates and scaling heavily favor the X58 in our stock clock speed results using the Ranch demo. Although frame rates still favor the X58 in this demo when overclocked, the scaling on the P55 is slightly better. The stock results in the Playback Action demo are a dead heat with a 2% advantage to the X58 when overclocked.

When it came to actual game play, there were no differences between either platform in the game. In fact, it was very difficult to discern which system was being utilized. The key giveaway was the foot warming heat coming from our case with the X58 overclocked. Our ambient temperature in the test room rose 2.1C over the course of testing with the X58 installed compared to 0.7C with the P55.

Index H.A.W.X. takes flight on the 920


View All Comments

  • vshin - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    Gulftowns are supposedly -starting- at $1000 with upper-end parts going as high as $1500. Even at $500, that is still too high for the mainstream gamer. So is a $500 video card. If you have this much to spend, then you may as well spend extra for an X58 system.

    I'm referring to the budget-enthusiast who will want to limit their purchase to <$300 for CPU or video card, not going to use SLI, but plans on overclocking to maximize value. This segment is more interested in running games fast, and less interested in folding projects or encoding video.

    The difference between me and TA is that I don't hate the platform I am supposedly "against." If Intel replaced their entire Lynnfield lineup with Gulftown at the same prices, I would be very happy.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    This may play into AMD's hands when they (eventually) launch the Thuban core. It's a drop-in replacement for AM2+/3 thanks to (I presume) a mere BIOS update. If people can get a 6-core CPU for relatively cheap, they won't bother with the far more expensive X58 path, unless Intel decides that it's worth it dropping the price quite a lot.

    Thuban is due after i9, which is a bit of a worry.

    A budget enthusiast setup is a mouthwatering prospect for those of us with bottoms in our pockets (and little jangling around in them).
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    I have added the CPUZ/Everest Screenshots to the gallery for the 920 overclocked at 4.2GHz. I also ensured that B2B settings were the same on both platforms with auto disabled and a setting of 4 enabled. This is it for additional testing. When it comes right down to it, both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. So choose which one best suits your needs.

    The short story to the new uncore testing is that it really does not make a real difference in general applications at these speeds. Of course, I have discussed this for more than a year but hey, why not run through it again. :)

    I did gain 2/10ths of a second in SuperPi 8M with the higher uncore, the game scores were basically a wash as was a couple of applications although minimum frame rates suffered in FC2 and HAWX.

    Uncore at 3407-
    Everest Memory
    Read - 18006
    Write - 15237
    Copy - 21306
    Latency - 38.6ns
    L3 Latency - 3.2ns

    Uncore at 3607-
    Everest Memory
    Read - 17807
    Write - 15892
    Copy - 20059
    Latency - 37.8ns
    L3 Latency - 3.1ns

    What does that mean to our top three favorite Core i7/X58 game benchmarks?

    1920x1080 2xAA HQ DX10 Ranch Small
    uncore 3407 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 137 minimum fps 173.3 average fps
    SC- 77 minimum fps 95.3 average fps
    uncore 3607 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 134 minimum fps 173.9 average fps
    SC- 75 minimum fps 95.1 average fps

    World in Conflict-
    1920x1080 2xAA/16xAF HQ Bench
    uncore 3407 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 42 minimum fps 103 average fps
    SC- 33 minimum fps 58 average fps
    uncore 3607 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 42 minimum fps 103 average fps
    SC- 33 minimum fps 58 average fps

    1920x1080 2xAA HQ DX10.1 Bench
    uncore 3407 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 128 minimum fps 144.5 average fps
    SC- 71 minimum fps 82.5 average fps
    uncore 3607 - 4.2GHz - HD 5870
    CF- 126 minimum fps 145.4 average fps
    SC- 71 minimum fps 81.9 average fps

    1. One other item that I answered earlier. The NV GTX275/285 cards perform better on Lynnfield than Bloomfield as does the HD 4890 in most cases. We are still investigating the differences with the HD 5870 on Lynnfield and AMD is trying to have an answer for us tomorrow after three days of marathon testing. It could be drivers, it could just be the architectural changes on the card or a conflict with the new PCIe setup on Lynnfield.
  • ilnot1 - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    Gary, your really are saint to run uncore tests (again), but...

    don't give in too much otherwise the terrorists win!
  • TimboG - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link


    Thanks for clearing that up for me Gary. You have to remember that most readers do read more reviews than what is posted here at AnandTech and in doing do it becomes very difficult to remember so many obscure setting changes that have become available with the new chipsets and each of their overall affect on performance. That was the reason I spoke out against the changes in the default settings. With that in mind, we, (the readers) also noticed the strange behavior of the HD5890 on these platforms compared to previous benchmarking of other graphics cards on these platforms. I, for one, was concerned that the settings changes had produced these strange results. Thank you again for taking the time to remove that from the equation.
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    Shenanigans!!!! Thought you could pull the wool over our eyes, did you? Maybe you thought we wouldn't notice BOTH uncore speeds you selected for Bloomfield, 3407 and 3607, are PRIME NUMBERS!?!?

    But oh, look at Lynnfield at 3602 – a speed that is clearly divisible by 2, and most definitely NOT PRIME. This is CLEARLY yet another example of your pro-Lynnfield bias!!!! Just how dumb do you think we are?!?!?

    Also, you have the patience of a saint.
  • Voo - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    @Lifted: You're just kidding right? Oh god please say you're just kidding.

    @GeorgeH: YMMD - let's await TAs response, I'm really curious with what he'll come up this time.

    @Gary: You've really got the patience of a saint.
  • Lifted - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    I'm starting to think that these trolls work here at AT. I've never seen AT staff respond to anyone so often, especially obvious trolls. Not only are the staff responding to the same troll(s), but they run their tests again and even publish new articles around the trolls comments. The whole situation just doesn't smell right to me. Seems a bit of rattling the cage is going on for obvious reasons. Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    "I'm starting to think that these trolls work here at AT. "
    If you only knew how much I wished that were true. :)
    1. TA152H (almost ready for a block based on personal attacks)is actually Rich A. who "was" a freelance writer at Toms Hardware. You can contact our good friends (seriously) Tuan or Chris over at Toms to verify.
    2. the Zorro (almost there again) was thezorro (blocked for spamming) was SnakeOil (blocked for useless spamming). SnakeOil has been a fixture over at Tech Report and somehow found his way over here. You can view his comments at TR in the Intel/AMD articles to verify.
    3. Our followups are not for the amusement of these commentators (being real nice here). We did receive a lot of requests for the followups and three (Clock for Clock OC / 860 review / P55 scaling) were already in the works. We are just trying to be accommodating here for follow up information when deemed necessary.
  • iamezza - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    TA152H wrote for Toms Hardware, wow! This explains a lot.

    I still don't understand why these guys weren't banned many moons ago though.

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