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In Theory: How Does Lynnfield's On-Die PCI Express Affect Gaming?

Hardware And Software Benchmark Setup

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7 @ 2.8 GHz (Bloomfield) 6.4 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 cache, power-saving settings disabled
Intel Core i5 @ 2.8 GHz (Lynnfield) 8 MB L3 cache, power-saving settings disabled
Intel Core 2 Quad @ 2.83 GHz (Yorkfield) 12 MB L2 cache, power-saving settings disabled
AMD Phenom II X4 @ 2.8 GHz (Deneb) 6 MB L3 cache, power-saving settings disabled
MotherboardsAsus P7P55D Deluxe (LGA 1156) P55
Asus P6T (LGA 1366) X58/ICH10R
Gigabyte EP45-UD3P (LGA 775) P45/ICH10R
Asus M3A78-T (Socket AM2+) 790GX/SB750
MemoryCorsair Dominator DDR3-1600 @ 1333, 7-7-7, 1.65 V
Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 @ 1066, 5-5-5, 2.1 V
Graphics Cards1x / 2x ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2 GB
Hard DriveWestern Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300 GB 10,000 RPM SATA 3 Gb/s HDD
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x64 Service Pack 1
DirectXDirectX 10
Platform DriverIntel INF Chipset Update Utility 9.1.0.1012
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 9.6

Asus' P55-based P7P55D Deluxe

Asus sent over a near-final version of its P7P55D Deluxe motherboard, which we used in our performance evaluation here.

BenchmarkConfiguration
World in ConflictVery High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Patch 1009, DirectX 10
Very High Quality Settings, 4x AA / 16x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Patch 1009, DirectX 10
Far Cry 2High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Steam Version
High Quality Settings, 4x AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Steam Version
CrysisHigh Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1900x1200/2560x1600, Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit Executable
High Quality Settings, 4x AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1900x1200/2560x16000 Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit Executable
Left 4 DeadHighest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Steam Version
Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, Steam Version
Stalker: Clear SkyHigh Quality Setting, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, DirectX 10.1 lighting
High Quality Setting, 4x MSAA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, DirectX 10.1 lighting
3DMark VantagePerformance Default, High Quality, Extreme Quality
HAWXHighest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, DirectX 10.1, Ambient Occlusion: High, Patch 1.2
Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200/2560x1600, DirectX 10.1, Ambient Occlusion: High, Patch 1.2
  • megabuster
    AMD better have something up its sleeves or it's instakill.
    Reply
  • rambo117
    AMD... your loosing your game...
    Reply
  • dirtmountain
    A PhenomII x4 920? ouch
    Reply
  • bucifer
    I do not agree with the choices made in this article. You don't buy 2*4870x2 and the you slam a x4 920. The choices do not make sense.

    You should have used the best cpu(ex i7 920 oc@4GHz) to try to eliminate all bottlenecks and truly emphasize the limitations of x8/x16 pci-e lanes.

    The rest of the testing was done to include the new i5 which is not bad but not relevant for the bottleneck. I know many people would like to see how i5+p55 handles the gpu power but it's a highly unlikely scenario that someone would actually but such powerful and expensive cards on pair them with a cheaper cpu and a limited platform.

    I just think you should have tested things separately in different articles.
    Reply
  • radnor
    I know you used a 2.8Ghz Deneb for Clock-per-clock comparisons. MAkes sense. But a 2.8 Ghz Deneb is something really no unlocked. Ussually unlock versions go 3.5Ghz on stock VID, non BE PArts can reach 3.3Ghz safely.

    A 2.8 Deneb/Lynnfield/Bloomfield have completely diferent prices. You are comparing a R6 vs a R1. I7 is the Busa trouting everybody else. Of course the prices are very diferent.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Gents, if you want to see the non-academic comparisons, I have the 965 BE compared in two other pieces for more real-world comparisons!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i5,2410.html
    and
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-gaming,2403.html
    Thanks for the feedback notes!
    Reply
  • bounty
    "Will Core i5 handicap you right out of the gate with multi-card configurations? The aforementioned gains evaporated in real-world games, where Core i7’s trended slightly higher, perhaps as a result of Hyper-Threading or its additional memory channel"

    Well you answered will i5 handicap you without hyperthreading, x8 by x8 and dual channel. It will by 5-10% If you wanted to narrow it down to memory channels, hyperthreading or the x8 by x8 you could have pice the game with the biggest spread and enabled each of those options selectively. Would have been kinda interesting to see which had the biggest impact.
    Reply
  • Shnur
    Great article! But then again... I don't see why a 955 wasn't used in this scenario... since the 920 is thing that nobody uses. Already that we know that i7 is superior to AMD flagship in multi-GPU configurations you're taking a crappy AMD CPU, buying a 790GX doesn't mean you're going to cut on the chip... and you're talking about who's performing better in 8x lanes... from my point of view it's a bad comparison, and there should have been a chip that'll be actually able to take a difference between 1 card and two and the from 16x and 8x.
    And thanks for the other linked reviews, but I'm not talking about comparing the chips themselves, I'm trying to figure out is 8x still good enough or I need to pay more for 16x?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Shunr,
    Thanks much for the feedback--again, this wasn't meant to be about the CPUs, but the PCI Express links. If you want to know about the processors themselves at retail clocks, check out the gaming story, which does reflect x16/x16 and x8/x8 in the LGA 1366 and LGA 1156 configs.
    Hope that helps!
    Chris
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    megabusterAMD better have something up its sleeves or it's instakill.lol! do you mean instagib?

    Joking aside, AMD needs something to counter this.
    Reply