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A more recent addition to our benchmark suite, 3DMark11 is principally a gaming metric—the dedicated Graphics score clearly reflects this in a very tight grouping of results using our GeForce GTX 580 reference board.
However, several components of this test also employ CPU-based physics—specifically, the Bullet library. The result is a more spread-out grouping in the overall Performance test. Even still, it’s hard to start declaring winners with fewer than 1000 points separating 10 different contenders.
Drop down to the broken-out Physics test, though, and it’s clear that the high-frequency quad-core Sandy Bridge- and Nehalem-based chips get favored. In fact, it looks like plenty of Turbo Boost headroom gets the Core i7-2600K and Core i7-875K their first- and second-place finishes, followed by the quad-core (it doesn’t seem like scaling to eight threads matters much here) Core i5-2500K.
What does hurt is having two physical cores—even aided by Hyper-Threading. The Core i3-2100 and Core i5-655K are soundly beaten by the older Core 2 Quad Q9550.