Generational Tests on the i7-6700K: Gaming Benchmarks on High End GPUs

Alien: Isolation

If first person survival mixed with horror is your sort of thing, then Alien: Isolation, based off of the Alien franchise, should be an interesting title. Developed by The Creative Assembly and released in October 2014, Alien: Isolation has won numerous awards from Game Of The Year to several top 10s/25s and Best Horror titles, ratcheting up over a million sales by February 2015. Alien: Isolation uses a custom built engine which includes dynamic sound effects and should be fully multi-core enabled.

For low end graphics, we test at 720p with Ultra settings, whereas for mid and high range graphics we bump this up to 1080p, taking the average frame rate as our marker with a scripted version of the built-in benchmark.

Alien Isolation on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Alien Isolation on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Total War: Attila

The Total War franchise moves on to Attila, another The Creative Assembly development, and is a stand-alone strategy title set in 395AD where the main story line lets the gamer take control of the leader of the Huns in order to conquer parts of the world. Graphically the game can render hundreds/thousands of units on screen at once, all with their individual actions and can put some of the big cards to task.

For low end graphics, we test at 720p with performance settings, recording the average frame rate. With mid and high range graphics, we test at 1080p with the quality setting. In both circumstances, unlimited video memory is enabled and the in-game scripted benchmark is used.

Total War: Attila on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Total War: Attila on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Grand Theft Auto V

The highly anticipated iteration of the Grand Theft Auto franchise finally hit the shelves on April 14th 2015, with both AMD and NVIDIA in tow to help optimize the title. GTA doesn’t provide graphical presets, but opens up the options to users and extends the boundaries by pushing even the hardest systems to the limit using Rockstar’s Advanced Game Engine. Whether the user is flying high in the mountains with long draw distances or dealing with assorted trash in the city, when cranked up to maximum it creates stunning visuals but hard work for both the CPU and the GPU.

For our test we have scripted a version of the in-game benchmark, relying only on the final part which combines a flight scene along with an in-city drive-by followed by a tanker explosion. For low end systems we test at 720p on the lowest settings, whereas mid and high end graphics play at 1080p with very high settings across the board. We record both the average frame rate and the percentage of frames under 60 FPS (16.6ms).

Grand Theft Auto V on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Grand Theft Auto V on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

GRID: Autosport

No graphics tests are complete without some input from Codemasters and the EGO engine, which means for this round of testing we point towards GRID: Autosport, the next iteration in the GRID and racing genre. As with our previous racing testing, each update to the engine aims to add in effects, reflections, detail and realism, with Codemasters making ‘authenticity’ a main focal point for this version.

GRID’s benchmark mode is very flexible, and as a result we created a test race using a shortened version of the Red Bull Ring with twelve cars doing two laps. The car is focus starts last and is quite fast, but usually finishes second or third. For low end graphics we test at 1080p medium settings, whereas mid and high end graphics get the full 1080p maximum. Both the average and minimum frame rates are recorded.

GRID: Autosport on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

GRID: Autosport on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

The final title in our testing is another battle of system performance with the open world action-adventure title, Shadow of Mordor. Produced by Monolith using the LithTech Jupiter EX engine and numerous detail add-ons, SoM goes for detail and complexity to a large extent, despite having to be cut down from the original plans. The main story itself was written by the same writer as Red Dead Redemption, and it received Zero Punctuation’s Game of The Year in 2014.

For testing purposes, SoM gives a dynamic screen resolution setting, allowing us to render at high resolutions that are then scaled down to the monitor. As a result, we get several tests using the in-game benchmark. For low end graphics we examine at 720p with low settings, whereas mid and high end graphics get 1080p Ultra. The top graphics test is also redone at 3840x2160, also with Ultra settings, and we also test two cards at 4K where possible.

Shadow of Mordor on MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Shadow of Mordor on 2x MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Shadow of Mordor on ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)

Generational Tests on the i7-6700K: Gaming Benchmarks on Mid-Range GPUs What You Can Buy: Office and Web Benchmarks


View All Comments

  • Ethos Evoss - Sunday, August 9, 2015 - link

    Why they STILL calling it i7 an i5 i3 ... they supposed to change it this time differently ..
    like i4 i6 i8 ?? or rather without that apples ''i'' ?
  • orion23 - Sunday, August 9, 2015 - link

    Yay for my 2600K @ 4.8ghz from day 1
    Never had as much fun overclocking and building system
    By now, I've changed cases (3x) and PSU's (2X), VGA's (2X). But not my loyal 2600K :)
    What a workhorse it is
  • Kutark - Sunday, August 9, 2015 - link

    I think a lot of people in the comments aren't really understanding the article. They state that the best reason to upgrade isn't really the processor speed, its all the other things the new platform affords you.

    In particular im very happy that i will FINALLY be able to get an SSD with speeds faster than what SATA3 allows as many of the motherboard for the z170 have m.2 thats not running on sata but on PCIE channels. It also allows for some real bandwidth in SLI situations. I have a single 980ti, and this platform would allow me to SLI another down the road and not impede things.

    Granted, its not a good value proposition when you look at the end result, but its a very nice future proofing platform in my opinion.

    Its kind of like saying if you have a modded older mustang thats as quick as a new mustang that you shouldn't upgrade because its just as or maybe slightly faster. There are more factors to the equation. Things that add to the quality of life, etc.

    In skylake's its mostly stuff related to the chipset. IMO thas fine by me.
  • sonny73n - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    I think you're an idiot. Understanding the article is one thing, realizing how close it is to the truth is another. Sure it's a nice upgrade for anything prior to Sandy Bridge but the author has summed up this article with a bold statement "Sandy Bridge, Your Time Is Up" which I believe - a false statement. Should I have a 5th grader break down the calculation of upgrade options so you can understand? First, note to mind that there's no such thing as future proofing in PC hardwares like you said and K series are made for overclocking.
    Let break down the upgrade options for my rig - Z68 MB $190, 2500K $230, HSF $60, 8GB RAM $60, PSU $180, GTX 780 $480, SSD $180, Case $80. Total $1460.
    Option 1: Upgrade MB, CPU, HSF and RAM. Old components ($540 new) can eBay for ~$200. New components $560 - $200 = $360 (out of pocket). Performance gain: System Overall 30%, Gaming 3 to 5%.
    Option 2: Upgrade the whole system. Total $1480. Performance gain same as option 1. Now having 2 systems (wonder what I'm gonna do with both).
    Option 3: Upgrade for gaming. Another GTX 780. Performance gain: BF3 1920x1200 4xAA about 95%. Total $480.

    Sure Skylake has some new features. Do I need them? NO. Do my SSD saturate SATA3 bus (throughput around 550MB/s)? NO. Is there any program (beside Handbrake which I use rarely) that can utilize the full power of my 2500K OCed mildly at 4.2GHz? NO. Can 980ti SLI saturate PCI-e2.0? NO. Am I such an idiot that I have a good running Mustang but I still like to buy another just because it's a bit better? NO. Is being financially irresponsible add to the quality of life? NO.

    Anyone with a brain that has a SB system or newer would never pick the first 2 options.
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    If there was a thumbs-up button for your post, I'd be clicking it. :D Reply
  • sonny73n - Thursday, August 13, 2015 - link

    Thanks :-) I wish I could explain it better. He's probably wondering why there's a $20 different lol. Hint CPU Reply
  • Kutark - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    This is pretty hilarious and just further proves my point. You had a fundamental misunderstanding of what the article is stating. You also have a fundamental understanding of the concept of an opinion. This article is not a encyclopedia brittanica article trying to create statements of fact. It is the OPINION of this website that sandy bridge's time is up. I tend to agree with them. And i'm on sandy bridge.

    Like most internet heroes, you're focusing on one aspect, price/performance. People buy products for a multitude of other reasons. Just simply getting a pure speed upgrade isn't always the primary factor behind the decision.

    For example, i bought a VW GTI a few years back instead of a Mazdaspeed 3, even though the mazdaspeed 3 was a better performing car, and was cheaper. I bought the VW because of the intangibles. I liked the way it drove, i liked the interior design better, the exterior design better, etc etc etc.

    I will be buying a skylake platform because i like the options the chipset affords me moving forward, in particular the increased number of PCI express lanes which will come in useful when m.2 pcie SSD's come down in price.

    And please don't talk to me about financial responsibility. We're not talking about buying a $500k house when you can really only afford a $300k house. Most of us make enough money that while $1k isn't insignificant, it's not going to break the bank either. Get your head out of your ass.

    But, please, continue on making an ass of yourself, if nothing it is entertaining...
  • FullCircle - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    I'm still happy with my SandyBridge i7-2600k.

    I see no reason to upgrade for 25% performance boost...

    I just upgraded my graphics card from GTX 580 to GTX 970, giving me a performance boost of 250%... now that's a worthwhile upgrade...

    25% on the other hand? That's not worth it. CPU advancement has slowed so much there's not much reason to upgrade at the moment unless you have an incredibly old processor. Even the Core i7 processor I have in my old PC is still pretty good.
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    I upgraded from 3GB 580 SLI to one 980 and even that was a good speed increase. Rocking along with a 5GHz 2700K. For a 2nd system to drive a 48" TV, I considered HW, but in the end for the games I'll be playing (which can use more than 4 cores) a used SB-E build made a lot more sense. ASUS R4E only 113 UKP, 3930K only 185 UKP, etc. Only key item I bought new was another 980.

    It's pretty obvious with hindsight that Intel jumped ahead much more than they needed to with SB/SB-E, so we won't see another leap of that kind again unless AMD or some other corp can seriously compete once more, just as AMD managed to do with Athlon64 back in the day. All this stuff about bad paste under the heat spreaders of IB, HW and still with SL proves Intel is dragging its feet, ditto how lame the 5960X compares to XEONs wrt its low clock, TDP, etc. They could make better, but they don't need to. Likewise the meddling with the PCIe lanes for HW-E; it's crazy that a 4820K could actually be better than a 5820K in some cases. Should have been the other way round: 5820K should have been the 6-core low end with 40 lanes, next chip up at current 5930K pricing should have been an 8-core with 40 lanes, 5960X should have been an 8 or 10 core with 64 or 80 lanes (whatever), with a good 3.5 base clock, priced *above* the current 5960X a tad - that would have been a chip the real enthusiasts with money to burn would have bought, not the clock-crippled 5960X we have atm.
  • experttech - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    I have a Sandy Bridge 2600K running on a Asus H67 EVO motherboard, so not overclocked. My motherboard is slowly dying. First the obboard sound died, then the reset is now working. Now I am wondering whether to upgrade the motherboard to an overclockable Sandy Bridge motherboard or jump the wagon to 6700K. I mostly do Video Editing and Encoding, no gaming. or wait till the motherboard dies completely and hope SkyLake E or Kaby Lake is out by that time. Any suggestions? Reply

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