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.
We don’t have many tests here because the performance benefits of the Haswell Refresh series are not substantial. Anyway, we can gather some information from the diagrams.
Any Intel CPU is fast enough in Batman: Arkham Origin to accompany the flagship discrete graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti. The CPU has little effect on the frame rate, and the new Haswell Refresh CPUs are no different from the older products.
Civilization V: Brave New World is a strategy game that uses the CPU for lots of calculations, but doesn’t really call for a powerful CPU. Starting from the i5-4570 upwards, there is almost no performance growth. Below that mark, the Haswell Refresh products are up to 3% faster than their predecessors.
Metro: Last Light is a CPU-dependent shooter, yet its frame rate is still limited by the graphics core at the highest visual quality settings (largely due to tessellation). It is only when we reduce the display resolution that we can see a 2% advantage of the Haswell Refresh processors.
Thief is one of the few games that don’t like Hyper-Threading in quad-core processors. It is optimized for four threads, so the additional virtual cores of the Core i7 CPUs slow it down. The Haswell Refresh series is up to 3% and 1% faster than the regular Haswell at the lower and higher resolutions, respectively.