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Benchmark Results: 3DMark Vantage

Core i7: 4-Way CrossFire, 3-way SLI, Paradise?

You’ll have to take these scores with a grain of salt and compare the GeForce GTX 280 results separately from AMD’s Radeon HD 4870, since a default run with PhysX artificially inflates these scores. We say the boost is artificial because there are a limited number of titles optimized for PhysX technology, including just one of the titles in our benchmark suite. Nevertheless, 3DMark assigns a huge gain to the inclusion of hardware physics acceleration—the black bars in our chart. When someone can show us real-world gains as proportionately large, we’ll change our tune on this one.

From Core 2 Extreme to Core i7 965 Extreme, the GeForce GTX 280s see a distinct performance increase in the processing and overall scores. Yet we’re forced to suspect that Nvidia’s drivers aren’t even fully-optimized yet, since the GPU score actually falls. Either that or the x16/x8/x8 PCI Express configuration really does negatively impact graphics performance. Should PCI Express throughput turn out to be the limiting factor here, we’d expect to see motherboard vendors actually hopping on board with nForce 200 before long now that their native solutions are done and ready to meet launch demand.

Likewise, AMD’s Radeon HD 4870s in any quantity—1, 2, and 4—perform even better when we shift from Core 2 to Core i7. First, the CPU score goes up. We’d suspect this to be a result of threading enhancements in the metric. Secondly, the GPU scores increase. Not likely a result of drivers, this probably has more to do with Intel’s platform architecture. Finally, the overall score goes up in response to the other two benchmark results demonstrating great performance.

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