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.
Back during our first test session featuring Sandy Bridge processors, we stressed that they would be an excellent choice for gamers. Today we confirmed this statement one more time. Sandy Bridge processors are simply unrivaled under gaming workload: they leave far behind their quad-core as well as six-core counterparts based on the previous-generation microarchitecture. So, unlike Core i7-2600K, Core i7-990X Extreme Edition will hardly be the most reasonable choice for a gaming system.
As a result, even if you intend to use a multi-GPU graphics configuration, we can recommend Core i7-2600K, despite the fact that the LGA1155 platform doesn’t support PCIe 16x + 16x for two graphics cards in their default mode. It might be a good thing to use an LGA1155 mainboard with an additional Nvidia NF200 switch that turns one PCIe x16 bus into two almost fully-functional ones. For example, Asus Maximus IV Extreme or Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3.