As you know, it is the graphics subsystem that determines the performance of the entire platform in the majority of contemporary games if the platform has a fast enough processor. Therefore, we select the most CPU-dependent games and measure the frame rate in two test modes. For the first mode we use lower resolutions and disable full-screen antialiasing, so we could see how well the processor can cope with gaming loads in general. This provides some insight into how the tested CPU is going to behave in the nearest future when it is accompanied with faster graphics cards. The second test mode refers to real-life settings: Full HD and maximum FSAA. In our opinion, these results are no less interesting as they demonstrate clearly the level of performance we can expect from contemporary processors today.
The gaming tests suggest that the LGA2011 platform doesn’t bring any special advantages to gamers. The top-end Haswell-based CPU, Core i7-4770K, with its progressive microarchitecture, fast cache and memory controller optimized for single-threaded loads, is quite competitive against the six-core Ivy Bridge-E in games. Its performance is comparable to that of the Core i7-4930K. The top-end six-core model Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition often takes the top place as today’s games have come to effectively use multiple CPU cores. It is only inferior to the Core i7-4770K in ARMA 3 and Total War: Rome II. We shouldn’t forget, however, that building a gaming configuration with a Core i7-4960X is going to be twice or thrice as expensive as with a Core i7-4770K whereas the difference in performance will be negligible.
The non-Extreme Ivy Bridge-E models don’t look good as gaming solutions. The six-core Core i7-4930K is no faster than the Core i7-4770K under gaming loads while the quad-core Core i7-4820K looks a complete loser among the other Core i7 CPUs. It is even slower than the similarly designed Core i7-3770K, illustrating the fact that the quad-channel memory controller slows down the gaming performance of the LGA2011 platform rather than otherwise.
We'll finish our gaming tests by running the popular synthetic benchmark 3DMark.
Futuremark 3DMark is optimized for multi-core CPUs, so the Ivy Bridge-E series are better here than in the actual games, but there’s a trend for modern games to support multithreading. 3DMark suggests that the six-core CPUs are the best choice but the Core i7-4770K remains the fastest of the quad-core models, pushing back the quad-core LGA2011 solution, Core i7-4820K.