Crysis is without doubt one of the most visually stunning and hardware-challenging games to date. By using CrysisBench - a tool developed independently of Crysis - we performed a total of 5 timedemo benchmarks using a CPU-intensive pre-recorded demo. To ensure the most accurate results, the highest and lowest benchmark scores were then removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
Staying true to its form, Crysis gives each of the systems a hard time, with not even the Core i7 managing to muster up an average of anywhere near 60FPS at 1280x1024. Admittedly, this is more than likely down to the HD 4870x2 not quite having the pixel-pushing power to conquer Crysis, but regardless the i7 still leads the pack at both resolutions, offering a ~10-15FPS increase over the Q6600 and a few FPS over the QX9650.
Race Driver: Grid is a visually taxing game that presents a challenge to any graphics system. Results were recorded using FRAPS to log the average FPS over a 2 minute race. To ensure consistency, the same track, car and general path of travel was used in each of the 5 benchmark runs for each system, with an average FPS being calculated from the median three results.
While the difference in performance in Crysis is but a mere few FPS, GRID puts every ounce of the Core i7's power to work. Managing a ~35FPS increase over the QX9650 at both 1280x1024 and 1920x1200 resolutions, this clearly shows that even on the QX9650, the performance of GRID is being held back by a lack of CPU power. Further testing of SLI and Crossfire over the next week will certainly reveal if the i7 is able to widen this gap even more.
ET:Quake Wars is a follow-up game to Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory developed by Splash Technology. Using a modified version of id Software's Doom 3 engine along with Mega rendering technology, the game offers high resolution textures, fast gameplay and plenty of explosions. Using the built-in recordNetDemo and timeNetDemo commands, we recorded a 5 minute online gaming session and played it back a total of 5 times on each system, calculating the average FPS from the median three results.
Judging by the results above, it would certainly appear that GRID isn't the only CPU-bound game, with the i7 system taking the lead by almost 20FPS in Quake Wars at 1280x1024. Once again the Q6600 setup shows its total lack of umph compared to the other two systems, acting as a very large bottleneck and slowing the GPU down to around 90FPS at both resolutions.