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Benchmark Results: First-Person Shooters

System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC

Now for the fun part: Game benches.

Once again, we're going to stress that the Core i7 system did not have the same video card as the E8500 or Q9550 systems. While the Core 2-based machines sported AMD's top-of-the-line Radeon HD 4870 X2, we were forced to settle for a cheaper Radeon HD 4850 X2 in order to stay in budget with the Core i7 machine. We should also note that the last couple revisions of Radeon drivers have shown notable performance jumps, so keep this in mind when comparing the E8500/4870 X2 against the Q9550/4870 X2 combo with the newer drivers.

Without anti-aliasing (AA) or anisotropic filtering (AF), Crysis shows a definite clock speed reliance as the overclocked E8500 bests the Q9550. While the Q9550 catches up at 1920x1200, remember that the newer drivers are likely the cause of this.

And now, with AA:

The trend is similar, yet muted. Note how the i7 system with the slower 4850 X2 is really struggling to keep up in this GPU-limited title.

Now let's try Unreal Tournament 3 (UT3), which is a CPU-limited title:

While the Q9550 is showing gains against the E8500, we once again can't be sure this isn't due to the newer driver. However, we can see that this is a CPU-limited title and that it really favors the Core i7. Note how the i7 920 leaves the competitors in the dust despite its slower video card.

Will adding 4xAA and 8xAF change anything?

The story is similar, but we can really see that UT3 likes quad-core CPUs in general and the i7 in particular. Now let's move on to real-time strategy titles.

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