The situation in games is slightly different from what we have just observed in SYSmark 2007, because the generations of gaming applications get replaced and updated way faster than the general purpose suites versions. As a result, games acquire support for new technologies way faster that is why most contemporary 3D games can use the resources offered by multi-core processors quite effectively already. Therefore, in games quad-core Lynnfield CPUs outperform Clarkdale processors with smaller L3 cache and relatively slow memory controller. However, it doesn’t prevent dual-core newcomers from running neck and neck with LGA775 and Socket AM3 solutions as well as frequently outperforming them.
Overall, dual-core Core i5 and Core i3 CPUs are a pretty good solution for a mainstream gaming platform. You can easily build configurations with the new Core i5-600 processors that would run as fast as systems with quad-core Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4 and would yield in performance only to more expensive systems with top Core i7 solutions.
Core i3 series can also star in its price range: this CPU performed in our tests as good as the top Core 2 Duo CPUs, which makes it a worthy alternative to the junior Phenom II X4 and Core 2 Quad.
The only disappointment is probably the performance of the new Pentium G6950. It is often even slower than the LGA775 Pentium E6500 processor. I have the feeling that Intel engineers may have stripped this CPU of way too many features.