3DMark06 Pro Performance
3DMark06 is the latest version in the popular 3DMark series of gaming benchmarks, and like 3DMark05, it also requires DirectX 9.0 compatibility. The 3DMark06 program offers a high-end selection of both gaming and CPU tests, while upping the ante in terms of jaw-dropping graphics and 3D feature support. 3DMark06 is not only a prime way of determining potential DirectX 9 game performance, but the individual CPU performance score also makes it a valuable tool in processor reviews and performance comparisons. This CPU benchmark is performed at the standard 1280x1024 resolution and 32-bit color depth, with no anti-aliasing or filtering options enabled.
Standard game benchmarks usually don't show any significant advantage with a multi-core setup, primarily because these are not written with multiple cores in mind. While this is true in the majority of cases, 3DMark06 Pro does offer a fully multi-threaded game benchmarking, and will help give us an idea of theoretical performance in true multi-threaded game environments. The Intel Skulltrail certainly gives us a warm feeling about next-generation gaming performance, and it offers a noticeable advantage over even the quad core platforms.
Quake 4 Performance
Quake 4 is the latest in 3D first-person shooters from id Software and Raven, and while the actual storyline is 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. For this test, we have moved to the 1.4 revision, and enabled the game's multi-threaded functionality.
Quake 4 is based on the same engine as DOOM 3, and due to a combination of multi-threaded graphics drivers and in-game multi-core support, it also rewards the extra performance of our dual and quad core processors. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to extend to an 8-core setup, as the Skulltrail platform, likely due to its DDR2-800 memory, falls just short of the Core 2 Extreme QX9770.
FarCry is a first-person shooter that takes in-game graphics to the next level, although in a different direction than DOOM 3. Instead of darkness and confined spaces, FarCry places you outdoors, on bright sandy beaches, jungles or even on the water itself. This game gives our processors a different kind of a stress test, and rest assured that FarCry ranks up there with the very toughest 3D game benchmarks. For this test, we are using the full retail version, and a custom game demo.
The performance trends shift a bit with FarCry, and although the Skulltrail's victory is hardly a resounding one, it still posts the highest framerate.