The tests in gaming applications turned into hell for us this time. The results we obtained during the test session didn’t have any logical explanation. Later one we found out that it was all happening because of the NVIDIA’s Forceware 81.95 driver. When NVIDIA introduced multi-threading support in their 80-series drivers, there emerged numerous issues causing unexplainable performance instability in 3D applications. In particular, these drivers do not always enabled multi-threading support, and the most remarkable thing is that enabling multi-threading doesn’t always result into performance increase in dual-core platforms. Therefore, NVIDIA recommends to disable multi-threading support for the current Forceware driver versions. Especially, since many games start acquiring multi-threading support of their own little by little, which leads to better performance than the corresponding support in the drivers can provide.
Therefore, we decided to run all gaming benchmarks with disabled multi-threading support in the driver.
The situation here is quite common. AMD CPUs provide better gaming performance than their Intel competitors. And even the Presler processor overclocked to 4.26GHz cannot outperform the single-core AMD CPUs. Although the overclocked Pentium Extreme Edition 955 managed to defeat the top dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+ model.
Note that the results of Quake 4 test on the diagram above refer to the first version of the game. However, the recently released Quake 4 patch version 1.0.5 added multi-threading support to this game. So, we decided to run one more test.
As we see, enabled multi-threading support had a really significant influence on the results. Athlon 64 X2 4800+ becomes 43% faster, Pentium Extreme Edition 955 – 13% faster, and Pentium D 950 - 39% faster. This is actually a clear indication that Hyper-Threading technology doesn’t do the dual-core processor any good. While in a single-core CPU it is quite efficient and helps improve the performance by about 9%.