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Game-Off: Seven Sub-$150 Processors Compared

Benchmark Results: Crysis

Crysis is our first game benchmark. Let's see if the results correspond to the expectations set by the 3DMark results:

We're seeing a very close correlation with the 3DMark results, indeed. The first thing we notice is that the Athlon II X3 445 provides excellent relative gaming performance for under $100. It easily beats out the dual-core Athlon II X2 260 and Pentium G6950 and essentially achieves performance parity with the quad-core Athlon II X4 640. Even at 1920x1080, the minimum frame rate is very close to 30 FPS and the average frame rate is a playable 45 FPS.

The next processor of interest is the Core i3-530. Now that this processor has dropped in price to $115, it has become quite attractive and bests the marginally more expensive quad-core Athlon II X4 640 in this benchmark. The Core i3-530 even comes close to performing at the same level as the Phenom II X4 940/945.

Speaking of the Phenom II X4 940/945, this benchmark shows us the benefits of its 6MB of L3 cache. Since the Athlon II X4 640 is essentially a Phenom II X4 945 stripped of its L3 cache—running at the same clock speed with the same multiplier—the performance difference is totally attributable to the Phenom II's cache.

Finally, the Core i3-540 doesn't appear all that impressive next to its much cheaper Core i3-530 brethren. Offering a measly 133 MHz increase, the Core i3-540 doesn't impress compared to the Core i3-530 and Phenom II X4 940/945.