Note - Before we start the game benchmarks we need to mention the following - we are currently revising the game test suite and hardware involved - we have removed the Radeon HD 5870 from the suite and have switched to the GeForce GTX 580. Starting in 2011 we'll also switch from 4 GB memory to 8 GB system memory. As a result we can't use older game results any longer and thus very little comparative material is to be found for the moment. Over time the results will build up again. We have chosen the GTX 580 as it is currently the fastest single GPU based graphics card on the globe, excellent for demonstrating CPU versus GPU changes - and CPU bottlenecks.
Far Cry 2
Throw your memory back to the year 2004 and the release of the innovative Far Cry on the PC. Developer Crytek managed to fashion one of the most convincing and striking locales in all of gaming, and satisfied gamers with the freedom to pass through the landscape and tackle enemies in almost any way they saw fit. You surely remember Jack Carver and that things were about to get seriously messed up for you? Well, tough luck. You are no longer at that deserted tropical island but hop into a jeep and arrive at the sandy savannah surroundings of Africa. And that's a change... as much as you'll no longer run into any mutants, aliens, or any superpowers or psychic powers. Also - you are no longer Jack Carver, you assume the role of one of nine different mercenaries who are embedded in the midst of a brutal civil war which rages in an imaginary African nation.
Everything that goes down is involved in a dirty little bush war in central Africa and you'll have to use a rusty AK-47 and whatever bits of scavenged land mine you can duct-tape together. Two factions struggle for supremacy: the United Front for Liberation and Labour and the Alliance for Popular Resistance, and both are known for blood and control.
We are in high-quality DX10 mode with 4x AA (anti-aliasing) and 16x AF (anisotropic filtering), just look at that performance take off.
Far Cry is not that GPU demanding anymore these days with modern graphics cards and thus is sensitive to CPU changes, especially per CPU core performance starts to really matter. As you can see. Once we overclock to 4300 MHz we again added a decent chunk of performance, up-to 1600x1200 though as then the GPU slowly starts to become the limiting factor.
Now look at that, Far Cry is CPU sensitive as the GPU has a lot of overhead here, per-core performance differences will show massively. And that's what you are looking at. AMD's latest six-core Phenom II X6 1100T (3.7 GHz Turbo Core / 3.3 GHz base) simply gets p0wned by Sandy Bridge. If you were to create a GPU with infinite performance, then the overall performance difference in-between the Phenom II X6 1100T and Core i7 2600K processors would close in at 2x.
But that's not a realistic real-world fact, even a GeForce GTX 580 will be the dominant, limiting and decisive factor with modern games -- let's have a look at that with the next game title.
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