AMD vs Intel - The Gaming Sweetspot

Testbed & Results

In order to maintain a level playing ground, comparable hardware was used across both testbeds and thus minimising the likelihood of a bias.

Intel Core i7 920 Processor @ 2.66GHz
Gigabyte EX58 UD3R LGA1366 Motherboard
6GB PC3-12800 DDR3-1600 Memory
HIS Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
500GB Seagate 7200.12 SATA II Hard Disk Drive
Corsair TX 650W Power Supply Unit
Akasa Nero Heatpipe Cooler
Windows Vista Home Premium


AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition @ 3.40GHz
Gigabyte MA770T UD3P Socket AM3 Motherboard
4GB PC3-12800 DDR3-1600 Memory
HIS Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
320GB Samsung Spinpoint F1 SATA II Hard Disk Drive
Corsair TX 650W Power Supply Unit
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro Cooler
Windows Vista Home Premium

Crysis Warhead
Crysis Warhead is without a doubt one hard nut to crack, especially at higher resolutions and a dash of Anti Aliasing and Anisotrophic Filtering. The perfect play ground for the superb Radeon HD 5870 graphics card.
The nature of the game combined with the relatively high resolution has resulted in near identical frame rates. In this particular case, our more affordable AMD Phenom II based test rig is holding it's own very well. The frame rates as such are not particularly bad but on both test setups, there were areas of dense graphics such as explosions where the game play was a tad choppy. All in all however, both systems seem to take on Crysis Warhead admirably well.
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2, another popular game that is well known for it's excellent visuals but also known for it's lack of mercy for lower end machines, most notably so at higher resolutions. Furthermore this particular game features a rather comprehensive benchmark tool that simulates game play realistically and most importantly very accurately.
In this particular game, the Core i7 920 develops an ever so slight lead over the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, but it should be made quite clear that without looking at the figures, there's no way you could tell between the two.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Flight Simulator X, launched in 2006 is Microsoft's latest and possibly their last iteration of the once popular aviation based series. Sadly, this particular game is known to most for it's faults and when I mean faults, I truly mean it. The game itself is based on a very old engine that dates as far back as FS2002 but has been tweaked for all the additional visuals and functions. Now that the game has been patched to take advantage of Multicore processors, performance issues have been ironed out to some extent.
Here, the Core i7 see's a more substantial lead over the 965BE in terms of maximum frame rates however based on average, they remain much the same.
Call of Duty 4
Call of Duty 4 is another popular hit however even with all of the eye candy set to full and the image quality raised up high, it doesn't particularly hurt today's latest and greatest. Regardless, let's see how it fares.
 The Core i7 920's lead is most prominent in this particular test, with a large increase in minimum frame rates. On average however, they are not so different. It should be noted that much like Far Cry 2, it would be hard to distinguish between the Intel and AMD system even if they were placed side by side.
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Most Recent Comments

26-10-2009, 03:37:55

Hehe tom you put AMD Vs. nVidia not intel :PQuote

26-10-2009, 06:48:36

Great article, although I would switch the Call of Duty test results the other way round so it matches with all the others At the moment it is i7 on top where all the others have it on the bottom of the graphQuote

26-10-2009, 08:17:54

Originally Posted by name='AaronCooper'
Hehe tom you put AMD Vs. nVidia not intel :P
Freudient slip.

It's evident to me that if ur just gaming, u can afford to make a choice of either camp. Even if ur enthusiastic in ur approach. Cash will often dictate ur choice, although primarily I try to stress to people (in this day'n'age) ur major purchase should always be the gfxcard for gaming. It makes little sense to dump a large portion of ur budget into cpu/mobo/mem and settle for a 4770, when u could get a 5870 and the balance can effectively make up the numbers.

Some1 with an i7 and a 4770 will do less well as a P35/E8400 and a 5870, for example.

Think the biggest decision maker is what else u do with the pc other than gaming.

Great read btw.Quote

26-10-2009, 16:51:36

I think this test proves that the intel chips is really aggressive for the performance and the disadvantages that is set to testQuote

27-10-2009, 07:56:17

Sorry to criticise the review but it lacks depth in terms of results as their isn't enough infomation to give conclusive evidence i.e. not enough Benchmarks as some games fair better on one CPU or the other - check other reviews.

Would of been a more interesting read if you did a clock for clock analysis just to see if the INTEL i7 920 @ 3.4GHz gave a significant boost or not over the stock 2.66GHz.

Then do another test with both CPU's at 3.8GHz to see if either CPU can take advantage of the 5870 graphics card.

Also would of been more interesting if you had added results using Lynnfield into the equation.

On a positive note for Fred Bloggs buying a PC from a retail chain PC outlet the results will be good for the non-overclocker who isn't bothered about these things.Quote

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