As you know, it is the graphics subsystem that determines the performance of the entire platform equipped with pretty high-speed processors in the majority of contemporary games. Therefore, we do our best to make sure that the graphics card is not loaded too heavily during the test session: we select the most CPU-dependent tests and all tests are performed without antialiasing and in far not the highest screen resolutions. In other words, obtained results allow us to analyze not that much the fps rate that can be achieved in systems equipped with contemporary graphics accelerators, but rather how well contemporary processors can cope with gaming workload. Therefore, the results help us determine how the tested CPUs will behave in the nearest future, when new faster graphics card generations will be widely available.
We are already used to the fact that when it comes to gaming performance of the new processors, there is only one conclusion to be drawn: Sandy Bridge are excellent gaming CPUs. There is nothing new to add this time, too. Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 run faster than any dual-core CPUs of the same class yielding to quad-core parts only in games that are well optimized for multi-threading.
The fact that Core i3-2100 more than 30% faster (on average) than Core i3-560 once again confirms that the new generation processors are highly advanced. And Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is the one that deserves all the credit. Both CPUs work at close frequencies, have the same number of cores and support Hyper-Threading. Moreover, Core i3-560 even has a slightly larger L3 cache, but despite all that we witness an enormous difference in performance. Of course, Sandy Bridge processors owe some of their success to the faster memory controller. The new Core i3 CPUs have their memory controller in the same semiconductor die as the computational cores. Besides it supports faster DDR3 types. However, this tremendous performance advantage cannot be explained only by the increased memory sub-system speed. There obviously are other reasons for that.