We started our high-resolution 3D testing with ET: Quake Wars again. This time we have the resolution dialed up in the game to 1920X1200, the native resolution for our 24" test LCDs. We also turned up all quality settings and anisotropic filtering for textures to maximum levels. Benchmarks were then run with super-crisp 8X and 16X AA levels.
Finally, as you'll note in the graphs below, we're comparing just the EVGA X58 3X SLI board with a Core i7 Extreme 965 (3.2GHz) processor to the Core 2 Quad QX9770 on an Asus 790i SLI-based motherboard. Here will see just how the X58 Express chipset and Core i7 processor stack up against Intel's legacy Core 2 Quad architecture driving a GeForce GTX 280 SLI setup.
Please recall that our test system specs listed an Asus Striker II Extreme nForce 790i Ultra SLI board that we used for this one set of benchmark runs only, in combination with the Core 2 Extreme QX9770.
We came away with a couple of interesting datapoints here. First, our ET: Quake Wars tests are largely GPU bound at the higher resolution. We should also note that due to id software's use of their proprietary "megatexture" technology, more efficient use of frame buffer memory is possible and likely reduced overhead with respect to SLI and PCI Express-based multi-GPU transactions. Here, there is less of an advantage for a more powerful CPU or motherboard platform.
On the other hand, our Crysis testing shows something very different, with the EVGA X58 3X SLI and Core i7 combination chalking up a 14% performance lead.