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

Benchmark Results: Crysis

Ah, the ageless Crysis—always surprising us with interesting results. Perhaps most problematic is that, on the 790GX platform, CrossFire results in a fairly massive performance hit that proved reproducible with Catalyst 9.6.

The results get a little more disappointing from there. Core i5 is beaten out by Core i7 by a slim margin, Core 2 Quad scores its first win against Core i5 (this is with a single card installed), and AMD’s Phenom II even slides in ahead of Core i5 as resolution increases.

Of course, the CrossFire issue results in the Phenom II getting smashed up pretty hard with two cards installed. But AMD’s configuration isn’t the only one to suffer. At 1680x1050, the Core i5 and Core 2 Quad—the two other platforms seeing PCI Express connectivity cut in half, lose a few frames each when a pair of 4870 X2s are used. By the time we switch to 2560x1600, Core i5 and Core 2 Quad actually start gaining a bit from CrossFire, but Phenom II continues shedding performance.

Let’s see if these results hold up with the added stress of anti-aliasing applied.

The backwards-slide isn’t as bad here, but there are still some notable issues. Mainly, two Radeon HD 4870 X2s in CrossFire on a 790GX platform are performing worse than one. Nevertheless, the three Intel configurations at least demonstrate gains at 2560x1600, where this potentially very I/O-limited benchmark is finally able to tax the graphics cards and show the benefit of two cards versus one. If you want a better look at Crysis performance, check out today's gaming analysis story, which tests the latest processors using their stock clocks and SSDs, opening up the frame rates substantially.

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.