Skip to main content

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

Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2

If you look up the definition of CPU-limited in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if it comes up with a picture of our Far Cry 2 graph here. With one Radeon HD 4870 X2 installed, 2560x1600 is the only resolution able to exert enough strain to show a performance ding. Even with the platform limitation in place, we see the Core i7 on top, followed by Core i5, Core 2 Quad, and Phenom II.

Adding a second card exacerbates the bottleneck, and now 2560x1600 pulls even with the other resolutions. Of course, that doesn’t change the limiting factor at all, so the results fall into place exactly the same way.

Anti-aliasing helps spread the field out a bit, and we see more meaningful results. The Core i7-based setup edges out Core i5 at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200, but the two even out at 2560x1600 when only a single card is used. Core 2 Quad and Phenom II follow at the two lower resolutions, but are all fairly even at our most demanding setting.

Adding a second Radeon HD 4870 X2 shows mediocre gains across the board, largely a result of the CPUs we’re using here. At 2560x1600, the case for more graphics horsepower is definitely the strongest. And, as we’ve come to expect, Core i7 comes in first place, Core i5 scores second, Core 2 Quad finishes third, and Phenom II brings up the rear, still limited by platform performance.

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.