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Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2

Core i5, Core i7, CrossFire, And SLI: Gaming Paradise, Redux?

Using Ultra Quality settings, Far Cry 2 crosses the threshold from CPU- to GPU-bound. With one Radeon HD 4870 X2 installed, you get very similar performance across all five of our test platforms at 1680x1050. But adding a second in CrossFire shows where the Core 2 Quad and Phenom II get choked up, and where the Core i7 and Core i5 stretch their legs. The same as true at 2560x1600—you get amazing performance from a $199 Core i5 and two $400 Radon HD 4870 X2. Sounds disgustingly imbalanced, right? Nevertheless, Intel’s entry-level i5 delivers the goods.

A single GeForce GTX 285 actually favors AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, ironically enough, at 1680x1050, but the results even out at 2560x1600. SLI does help Nvidia here, but not nearly as much as ATI’s CrossFire. And because we didn’t test on the 790i or 980a chipsets--less common platforms than 790GX or P45, we say--there’s no way to tell how an Nvidia-based solution would fare against the three Nehalem-based builds.

We see a similar story with the introduction of anti-aliasing. The numbers aren’t as high, of course, but a single Radeon HD 4870 X2 is still constrained by our benchmarked platforms. Meanwhile, a pair of the flagship cards takes off when backed by either of the Core i7s or Intel’s new Core i5. AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 edges out the Core 2 Quad, but both platforms trail still.

In contrast, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 285 favors the Core 2 Quad and Phenom II with only a single board installed. The SLI-capable X58 and P55 configurations demonstrate significant gains with a second card available, but again we’re left to wonder if SLI-equipped Core 2 Quad and Phenom II platforms would outperform the newer Core i7 and Core i5 chips if more prevalent motherboards were available for them.

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