Quake 4 is the latest in 3D first-person shooters from id Software and Raven, and while the actual storyline is pretty standard fare and the game itself is based on the DOOM 3 engine, the graphics are exceptional and it is an improvement over previous games. The lighting and shadow effects are excellent, and the overall level design and architecture are a real treat. The overall load on the graphics card can be extreme, which is both a blessing and a curse, depending on the actual hardware you are testing.
Quake 4 is based on the same engine as DOOM 3, and due to combination of enhanced NVIDIA drivers and in-game support, it also rewards the extra multithreading of a dual core or HT-enabled processor. Unfortunately, when dealing with dual core processor reviews, this usually translates into a crowded benchmark chart. The Core 2 has changed all that, and now we see a clear line between the latest Intel processors and the AMD and Intel competition. The Core 2 Extreme X6800, Core 2 Duo E6700 and Core 2 Duo E6600 processors are also the first to exceed 200 fps (or even 190 fps) and the X6800 does it in style, pushing above 230 fps.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is based on the movie franchise of the same name, and provides a wild mix of kick-ass action and intriguing game environments. This hybrid game is similar to what Half-Life brought to the table, as you take the role of escaped can Riddick, and fight your way through some exceptionally rendered game levels. The in-game detail levels are also an important consideration, as moving the Shader Model above 2.0 can turn the game into a slide show, and even at SM 2.0, the game can bring most hardware to its knees.
The Chronicles of Riddick is a very tough game benchmark, and it seems as if the graphics component is weighing the processors down. Even so, the Core 2 Extreme X6800 is the first to shatter the 200 fps mark, and although the framerate gap is nominal, the Core 2 Duo E6700 and E6600 still take second and third place.
F.E.A.R. is a new entrant to our game benchmarks, and it features jaw-dropping graphics and a physics engine that can bring any system to its knees. The game even includes a wide selection of System and Video settings, along with an in-game testing module to keep things 100% comparable. In this case, as we are dealing with CPU performance, we have racked the system and physics settings to maximum, while lowering the graphics quotient to minimum, in an attempt to get rid of any GPU limitations.
Our last benchmark offers up some of the most surprising results, and shows the Core 2 Extreme and Duo processors with a wild lead over the other AMD and Intel processors. F.E.A.R. is one tough game benchmark, and is one of the few that we can isolate the CPU and GPU game settings. This seems to bring out the best in the Core 2 architecture, and Core 2 Extreme X6800 more than doubles the framerates of the fastest Pentium D.