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Game Benchmarks: Real-Time Strategy

System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC
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World in Conflict has shown itself to be a CPU-dependent title in the past. Will the i7 have what it takes to gain a sizable advantage?

There is an advantage, but the Core i7 920 doesn't really dominate. We have to wonder how much the Radeon 4870 X2 is helping the E8500 stay in the running in this benchmark.

Let's spice it up with 4xAA and 16xAF to see if the 4870 X2 can push the E8500 a little higher in the standings:

As we suspected, adding hearty gobs of AA and AF will help the E8500/4870 X2 system regain some ground over the i7 920/4850 X2. The result is a virtual tie.

Our final game benchmark is almost as brutal to run as the mighty Crysis. Supreme Commander Forged Alliance can also bring a system to its knees, so let's see if it's bottlenecked by the CPU or GPU:

This one was a little surprising as the Supreme Commander engine is known to like multiple CPU cores. However, it's also known to like graphics prowess as well, and in this case, the balance has been tipped in the favor of the Radeon 4870 X2. The i7 920 system pulls out about 90% of the performance in this game.

Of course, we'll add 4xAA to stress it even further:

We're still seeing the i7 920 system pull 90% of the performance of the E8500 system, but at lower frame rates the difference to the end-user will be more pronounced.

We can see from the gaming benchmarks that, at the end of the day, the hardcore gamer is better off investing his or her money in more video card instead of in more CPU. This has been the case for a long time now, and the Core i7 doesn't really change the status quo.

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