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Normally we’d benchmark new CPUs with our reference platform, which includes a GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. However, we’ve heard your requests in the comments section to see AMD CPUs tested with ATI graphics cards. Hoping to simultaneously emphasize any possible CPU limitations in our gaming tests, we stepped up to a Radeon HD 4870 X2 for this evaluation.
Far Cry 2 is known to be a somewhat platform-limited title. With no anti-aliasing, we see a clear progression as clock rate increases on the AMD processors, culminating with the overclocked Phenom II X4 965. Very similar 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 results suggest we’re still largely processor-bound in each case.
Though the flagship Phenom II and Core 2 Quad Q9550 deliver comparable frame rates, the Core i7-920 is a runaway, serving up performance nearly 30% faster at 1680x1050.
Enabling 4x AA normalizes the field a little bit, but you’re still looking at speeds 13% faster when comparing Core i7 to Phenom II.
Stalker is most certainly a graphically-taxing title, so we’d expect less influence from the CPUs in play. For the most part, we see our expected results with anti-aliasing turned off. The Phenom II X4 965 outperforms the Core 2 Quad by a narrow margin, the Core i7-920 is even faster than the Phenom II by a similarly tight range, and the overclocked Phenom II matches pace.
Enabling anti-aliasing gives us a decided graphics bottleneck, as all of our contenders jam up between 40 and 41 frames per second at 1680x1050 and right around 36 frames per second at 1920x1200.