Case in Point: The Best CPU Under $300

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Let’s look at a pair of games. Far Cry 2 is known to be multithreaded, whereas STALKER: Clear Sky is a single threaded game. We use the Far Cry 2 Action benchmark scene, which is a little more CPU intensive than the flythrough scenes. We also dial down the level of detail considerably on one test. Both Clear Sky tests are at fairly low detail levels, but the slower result has DX9 full dynamic lighting and other settings at default, while the faster result has everything dialed way down. We’re just trying to isolate the CPU here.

With gaming, things get really interesting. Performance in the multithreaded Far Cry 2 is almost a wash. In fact, Lynnfields runs over 5-1/2% slower in the very low res, DX9 test. It’s a dead heat in the igher resolution, DX10 test.

On the other hand, the single-threaded Clear Sky game sees a massive performance increase with Lynnfield, which we can chalk up partly to memory bandwidth improvements, but probably mostly to Turbo Boost.

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