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


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  • sonny73n - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    2600K is an excellent chip. I'd rather have the i7-2600K than the new i5-6600K. You should get a new MB Z77 but there's not many still available now. I only saw 1 Z77 on Newegg, it's the Asrock and I think it costs around $160. You can also find used Z68 and Z77 MBs on Amazon or eBay but I wouldn't recommend it. Video editing with the 2600K is a piece of cake and x264 encoding is not bad either. Keep the chip and spend your money on a good video card and a nice 4K ips monitor. Reply
  • experttech - Thursday, August 13, 2015 - link

    Thanks for your reply. I too realized the same, I did notice the only Z77 Asrock motherboard (which is an excellent motherboard by the way) but for the price, I can't justify buying it especially since so many options are available in the new platform. One interesting thing I noticed is that with the newer instruction sets, my laptop with i5 5200U actually renders some frames very fast but overall, my i7 2600K renders the finished movie quicker. So though there are IPC improvements in the newer chips, the basic features (performance, mutithreading etc) haven't changed night and day. Of course I am comparing a Sandy bridge i7 to a lower clocked Broadwell i5 but I am not sure if there will be a tangible difference upgrading to SkyLake as of now. So you are right my friend and thanks for the advice!

    I do have a 1440p monitor and its amazing how much real estate you get going from 1080p. Definitely one of the best upgrades I made. I will look into a 4K monitor as they have come down quite a bit in price.
  • phillipstuerzl - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link


    On your 5th page, under Test Setup, you list the i5 6600K as being 4C/8T. This is incorrect. It is not hyperthreaded, and only 4C/4T.

    Great article!
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • DannyDan - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    So do we expect the 1151 socket to have a few good upgraded processors down the road? It really sucked getting a socket 1156 CPU. Reply
  • mdw9604 - Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - link

    Moore's law is a crock of $%!24. 7 years later and Intel still hasn't doubled the performance the i7 870. Core for Core.

    The may be able to cram more transistors into a smaller space, but doesn't mean better performance.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, August 13, 2015 - link

    It's funny how every time it fails people say it is being "adjusted", "extended", "massaged", "modified", or something like that. Either it works or it doesn't. It should be called Moore's Heuristic = "process density increases over time" (duh). Reply
  • ES_Revenge - Saturday, August 15, 2015 - link

    You misunderstand Moore's Law. Moore's law has nothing [necessarily] to do with performance. Moore's law only states that the number of transistors possible in a given space will double every two years. It also doesn't just apply to Intel and mainstream CPUs, it applies to *all* integrated circuits. Everything from CPUs to EEPROMS, to SOCs, to microcontrollers, to image sensors...etc. these things are all included as they're all ICs. So, on average, it still holds AFAIK.

    Whether or not a 14nm chip outperforms, or how much it outperforms, a 28nm one (there wasn't one for Intel, but Sandy was 32nm) is NOT what Moore's Law predicts. Other people have construed this "Law" to mean things about performance (including some guy at Intel that once said performance would double every xx months--totally wrong and not what Moore's Law states anyway), but it's not about performance and certainly not just about desktop CPUs.

    You can't say something is a "crock of $%!24" if you don't know what it's about to begin with.
  • Kutark - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    Unfortunately, whether or not someone understands something has never stopped someone from speaking their mind on it. Hell, look at pretty much every election under the sun. The vast majority of people who vote in them couldn't even give you a basic rundown of the issues at hand, yet they sure do have an opinion on it... Reply
  • nsteussy - Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - link

    Ian, under the Linux benchmarks you have the graphic for the NAMD Mol Dynamics twice but none for the NPB fluid dynamics. That said, that is quite the nice bump for NAMD (~24% from a 4770 to a 6770). Very tempting. Reply

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