Here's a shiny new game with a benchmarking function that we can test. We recorded a demo during a multiplayer game on the Hospital map and played it back using the "timeNetDemo" command. The screen resolution was set to 1024x768 with the game's quality options maxed out. We didn't enable the game engine's multithreaded renderer via the CLI, because doing so didn't produce higher performance; instead, we tested at the game's default settings.
Left 4 Dead
We also used a custom-recorded timedemo with Valve's most excellent zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. Here, we tested at 1280x1024 with 16X anisotropic filtering enabled and all of the game's quality options cranked, though these settings were quite apparently not GPU limited. The game's multicore rendering option was enabled by default.
Unlike the two games on the previous page, both of these games run exceptionally, preposterously well on all of the processors we tested. Nevertheless, the new Core i5-750 and i7-870 remain near the top of the charts.
Source engine particle simulation
Next up is a test we picked up during a visit to Valve Software, the developers of the Half-Life games. They had been working to incorporate support for multi-core processors into their Source game engine, and they cooked up some benchmarks to demonstrate the benefits of multithreading.
This test runs a particle simulation inside of the Source engine. Most games today use particle systems to create effects like smoke, steam, and fire, but the realism and interactivity of those effects are limited by the available computing horsepower. Valve's particle system distributes the load across multiple CPU cores.
The Core i7-870 gets a nice boost from Hyper-Threading here, allowing it to nearly double the performance of the fastest Phenom II available. Without HT, the i5-750 can't break from the pack like its stable mate does.