As you know, it is the graphics subsystem that determines the performance of the entire platform equipped with 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.
Games are not among the applications that create well-paralleled multi-threaded load that is why six computational cores of the new LGA 2011 processors are way more than necessary. Nevertheless, gaming applications could be much more welcoming to the newcomers, because they also bring in a quad-channel memory controller and large L3 cache, and applications of the gaming kind are usually very sensitive to the memory sub-system performance. However, we do not see anything like that on the diagrams, because quad-channel memory in LGA 2011 systems works slower than, for example, dual-channel DDR3 in LGA 1155 platforms. Even the large L3 cache doesn’t help the new Core i7 and its larger size is balanced out by increased latency. As a result, the top Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition is generally not any faster in games than LGA 1155 Core i7-2700K.
The obtained results allow us to conclude that less expensive and less complex LGA 1155 platform will still be a better fit for gaming systems, because this implementation of Core i7 is just as well-suited for gaming load. Although there is one exception. LGA 2011 platform will be a better choice if your graphics sub-system will consist of two or more graphics accelerators. The new platform allows configuring your SLI or CrossFireX configurations as PCI Express x16+x16, while the previous-generation LGA 1155 platform delivers only half the PCI Express bus speed. And since we came to speak about PCI Express graphics bus we should point out LGA 2011 is the only platform today that supports PCI Express 3.0. However, the bandwidth of this particular bus has very little effect on graphics performance. Besides, there are no graphics cards yet that support the corresponding PCI Express mode.
In addition to the gaming tests let’s check out the results in synthetic 3DMark 11 test launched with an Extreme settings profile.
In fact, any contemporary processor priced at over $200 is capable of uncovering the potential of any graphics sub-system in contemporary games, no matter how complex this graphics sub-system is. That is why it is no longer interesting to compare flagship processors in 3D gaming applications and benchmarks: all of them demonstrate very similar results. However, the synthetic Physics sub-test that checks the processors’ ability to handle a physics gaming model, ranks all the participants very definitively. LGA 2011 newcomers use all of their six cores with Hyper-Threading support and therefore show very impressive results.