Windows 7 Gaming Performance

Our Bench suite is getting a little long in the tooth, so I added a few more gaming tests under Windows 7 with a new group of processors. We'll be adding some of these tests to Bench in the future but the number of datapoints is obviously going to be small as we build up the results.

Batman is an Unreal Engine 3 game and a fairly well received one at that. Performance is measured using the built in benchmark at the highest image quality settings without AA enabled.

Gaming performance is competitive, but we don't see any huge improvements under Batman.

Dragon Age Origins is another very well received game. The 3rd person RPG gives our CPUs a different sort of workload to enjoy:

Dragon Age on the other hand shows an 11.6% gain vs. the i5 760 and equal performance to the Core i7 880. Given that the i5 2400 is slated to be cheaper than the i5 760, I can't complain.

World of Warcraft needs no introduction. An absurd number of people play it, so we're here to benchmark it. Our test favors repeatability over real world frame rates, so our results here will be higher than in the real world with lots of server load. But what our results will tell you is what the best CPU is to get for playing WoW:

Performance in our WoW test is top notch. The i5 2400 is now the fastest CPU we've ever run through our WoW benchmark, the Core i7 980X included.

We've been working on putting together Starcraft II performance numbers, so here's a quick teaser:

A 12% advantage over the Core i7 880 and an 18% improvement over the Core i5 760.

Archiving Performance Power Consumption


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  • gruffi - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Why not comparing with a HD 5570? That is what Llano is supposed to have, Redwood-class IGP. An HD 5450 is quite pointless. It just reflects competition for Ontario. But Sandy Bridge is not Ontario's competition.

    And what about image quality or GPGPU support? Pure FPS numbers are only half of the truth.
  • wiak - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    dont think so, its said that AMD's Fusion built-in GPU will have 400 SPUs (HD 5670 level-graphics), thats a far cry from HD 5450's 80 SPUs ;)

    so if you wanna game you still have to use something from a real graphics manufacture like AMD when it comes to GPUs bult into CPUs, as a added bonus you also have updated drivers and a decade old DirectX 9 compatibility, so you old games work without any big problems
  • icrf - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    I am impressed that you have a functioning sample at least four months before it's available, run it through enough paces for a review like this, and they let you release the numbers. I mean, are they trying to suppress holiday sales?

    When do you think you'll have a Bulldozer sample from AMD to run a similar preview? Barring a surprise from AMD, at this point, it looks like I'll be building an i7 2600 early next year. The similar spec chip from today is an i7-975 Extreme, which is the fastest quad core in the bench, and Sandy Bridge runs 13-14% faster in the only benchmark I care about (x264). I guess even that might change significantly if it can take advantage of this "alleged on-die video transcode engine." I'd not heard of that before.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Honestly we're probably several months out from having Bulldozer silicon in a similar state. With the past few generations of Intel CPUs, by around 4 - 6 months before launch we're usually able to get access to them and they perform very well.

    With AMD the lead time is far shorter. I don't expect us to have access to Bulldozer silicon that's worth benchmarking until Q2 2011 at the earliest. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong though :-P
  • icrf - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    I guess I'm mostly surprised that Intel would do it. Conroe made sense. They had to show the world as early as possible that they had something significantly faster than AMD, suppressing sales of that for their own a little later. But now that they own that performance crown, why show previews so many months early? I suppose I could be over-analyzing it and the vast majority of the market couldn't care less so it makes little difference to their bottom line. Bragging rights simply make for good PR.

    Sad to see Bulldozer so far out. I assume the server chips will ship before the consumer ones, too, so it'll be at least a solid year before it could be in my hands, anyway. Oh well. To be honest, my C2D E6400 still does well enough for me. Maybe I'll just make my upgrade an Intel G3 SSD. If I got both that and SB, I don't know what I'd do with myself.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    This preview wasn't Intel sanctioned, I believe Intel will release its own numbers at IDF in a few weeks.

    Take care,
  • icrf - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    Oh, I had assumed you got this chip from Intel and they had a typical NDA that said when you could talk about what you found. Where'd it come from, then? One of Intel's motherboard partners with whom you have a friendly relationship? Reply
  • aegisofrime - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    I must say, I'm really grateful for this article. I'm in the middle of planning an upgrade and information like this is really valuable to me. (and I guess to a lot of people as well!) I would just like you to know that your articles actually do influence some of our buying choices. So... Thank you! :D

    Now, all I need is a Bulldozer preview and all the pieces are in place...
  • vajm1234 - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    few things clear and few unclear as of now

    this sandy bridge review sample here do not have TURBO enabled. The CPU runs at 3.1GHz all the time, regardless of workload as anand stated

    it says "Both the CPU and GPU on SB will be able to turbo independently of one another. If you’re playing a game that uses more GPU than CPU, the CPU may run at stock speed (or lower) and the GPU can use the additional thermal headroom to clock up. The same applies in reverse if you’re running something computationally intensive."


    Q} will the on die GPU unit work in tandem with the other discrete GPUs out there or it will shut off? if yes will it work when sli or crossfire is enabled :p
    Q} whatever the above statement says will it happen if we use discrete graphics from nvidia or ati?
    Q} will there be any possibility to disable ONLY GPU and in certain cases ONLY its TURBO FEATURE
    Q} any possibility to remain the GPU overclocked the whole time when cpu is IDLE
    Q} what about accelerated hd video playback using the on die gpu?
    Q} it support VT-x and AVX is it possible for you anand to use specific benchmark for these instructions, same request goes for the AMD
    Q} as someone asked will there be a cheap 6 => core processor for mainstream market
    Q} again as per the last comment ......When do you think you'll have a Bulldozer sample from AMD to run a similar preview?

    this Ques Must be answered

    all n all what i think even if there is a 15-19% perf. Jump its not worh the spending when u consider u have to upgrade the entire platform

    and moreover limiting Overclocking features damm! a retarded decision i am not in a mood for amd but if the overclocking hits then i will move 10000...% :angry:

  • DanNeely - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    If you're asking about an SLI/CFX pairing with the IGP almost certainly not. The only company to ever attempt something like that has been Lucid with the Hydra chip and the results have been less than impressive. Architecturally I don't know that it'd even be possible for them to try with the on die GPU. The Hydra chip sat between the CPU and the Gfx cards on the PCIe bus and looked like a single card to the OS. There's no way for them to insert themselves into the middle of the connection to the IGP. Reply

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