3DMark06 Pro CPU Performance
3DMark06 is still one of the most popular gaming benchmarks but it's a bit old school in requiring DirectX 9.0 compatibility. The 3DMark06 program offers a high-end selection of both gaming and CPU tests, and is not only a prime way of determining potential DirectX 9 graphics card 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 settings, with no anti-aliasing or filtering options enabled.
Standard game benchmarks usually don't show any real advantage with a dual or quad-core setup, primarily because these are not written with a multi-core platform in mind. One exception is the CPU test in 3DMark06 Pro, which does offer multi-threaded game benchmark support. This is very clear from the benchmark chart, which shows the Core 2 Duo E8500 holding up the rear, while the quad cores take over. Even within this group, the Core i7 processors are the fastest, with the 3.2 GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition staying well ahead of any Core 2 Extreme.
3DMark Vantage CPU Performance
3DMark Vantage is the latest DirectX 10 revision of the Futuremark gaming-oriented benchmark, and follows closely with the overall design of past 3DMark products. In addition to the graphics and features testing, there are also two CPU-specific benchmarks, handling both AI and Physics. We'll be including both in this review, although the former seems to have far less reliance on the graphics card.
The first CPU test concentrates on AI and shows a significant gap between the different processors. This portion of the 3DMark Vantage CPU testing really highlights the architectural differences, and it's no surprise to see the Core i7 processors well out in front. There is a noticeable gap between the Core 2 and Core i7 processors, just like there is between the dual and quad core models.
The second CPU test highlights the Physics game component, but this one is much more GPU-limited than the AI benchmark, and shows the various processors grouped close together. The Core i7-965 XE is still in first place, but it's not exactly a resounding win.
Crysis CPU Performance
Crysis is a very demanding game from our friends at Crytek, and is very much like a significantly upgraded version of FarCry. The in-game visuals are incredible, and it even supports extra DirectX 10 goodies for those with top-end, enthusiast-level video cards. Since we're dealing with a processor, our Crysis benchmarking concentrates on the CPU benchmark, with all details set to Medium.
The Crysis results are a little more impressive, especially as it concerns the Core i7's performance versus the dual core and mainstream quad core processors. But the higher-end quads, like the 3.2 GHz Core 2 Extreme QS9770, remain excellent performers in this Crysis benchmark.