Skip to main content

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

Benchmark Results: H.A.W.X.

H.A.W.X. might be a sharp-looking sim with DirectX 10.1 optimizations, but it’s painfully apparent that without anti-aliasing turned on, 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 perform the same, regardless of whether you’re using one or two of ATI’s fastest video cards.

Stepping up to 2560x1600 does separate the field a bit, showing Core i7 in the lead (with one and two cards), and Core i5 besting Core 2 Quad in single- and dual-card environments, too.

Core i5 picks up a 12% performance increase with the addition of CrossFire. Core i7 picks up 15% higher frame rates. Core 2 Quad only gains 8%, while Phenom II actually loses 2% of its performance with the addition of a second graphics card.

Once again, 1680x1050 and, to a somewhat lesser extent 1920x1200 show the limitations of each system, regardless of how many graphics cards are used to try improving game performance. To that end, Core i7 asserts itself as the least-bottlenecked, followed by Core i5, Core 2 Quad, and Phenom II.

It takes stepping up to our highest tested resolution to show some benefit to using a pair of Radeon HD 4870 X2s. Core i5 picks up an impressive 24% additional performance. Core i7 trumps that with a 32% gain (likely thanks to the twin x16 PCIe links). Having its 16-lane link split in two holds our Core 2 Quad setup back to a 14% gain, while the same design limits Phenom II to a 3% boost.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.