The developers of Civ V have cooked up a number of interesting benchmarks, two of which we used here. The first one tests a late-game scenario where the map is richly populated and there's lots happening at once. As you can see by the setting screen below, we didn't skimp on our the image quality settings for graphics, either. Doing so wasn't necessary to tease out clear differences between the CPUs.
Apparently the results for the last two games were not a fluke, because we're seeing similar dominance from the Sandy Bridge processors yet again here. The dually Core i3-2100 is almost embarrassingly fast, especially compared to AMD's finest.
Civ V also runs the same test without updating the screen, so we can eliminate any overhead or bottlenecks introduced by the video card and its driver software. Removing those things from the equation reshuffles the order slightly. Apparently, the game has better threading than the video driver and/or Direct3D 11, because the Phenom II X6 is able to catch and surpass the Core i3-2100.
The next test populates the screen with a large number of units and animates them all in parallel.
Once more the Sandy Bridge processors overachieve, much as we've seen before.
Eliminating the rendering portion of the task focuses more fully on the CPU alone, and in that context, Intel's new chips still look very strong. Only the dual-core i3-2100 falls victim to an actual in-class defeat—well, it's a tie, at least—at the hands of the quad-core Phenom II X4 840.
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