The results of our comparative test of two Intel platforms are easy to understand and explain. Yes, it is best to equip your gaming platform with both a top-performance graphics card and a premium-class CPU if you’ve got the money, but what if you haven’t? According to our tests, the graphics card being the same, the performance of the platform with an Intel Core i7-975 EE processor can be 10 to 30% higher than that of the platform with an Intel Core i5-750.
But as our tests have also shown, this difference is far from crucial and can be easily made up for by purchasing a better graphics card. It is only in individual cases such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or WiC: Soviet Assault that using a top-end CPU is indeed justifiable and necessary to enjoy a comfortable frame rate, but such games are rather rare. With the current prices, buying a Core i5-750 for $200 instead of a Core i7-975 EE for $650-800 will save you about $400 or more which you can spend for a Radeon HD 5850/5870 or even GeForce GTX 480.
As for specific recommendations concerning the choice of a graphics card, the current Radeon HD 5000 series from AMD is overall less CPU-dependent than the GeForce GTX 400 and 200 series from Nvidia. This trend does not hold true in every game, however, and you can see the opposite situation in certain games. But whatever games you are going to play, we would recommend you to prefer a top-class graphics card to a top-end and expensive CPU if you can’t afford to have both. This will ensure high performance in most modern as well as in upcoming games. Besides, the Intel LGA1156 platform is at its peak right now and you can buy an inexpensive Core i5-750 today to replace it with a more advanced model, i.e. a Core i7-870, in the future.