P67 Sandy Bridge Gaming Performance Analysis

We look at the new P67 platform with an MSI GTX 580 and compare it to both X58 and P55.

Published Jan 3, 2011 4:31 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Manufacturer: Intel
11 minute read time

Introduction, Card and Specifications


P67 Sandy Bridge Gaming Performance Analysis 02 | TweakTown.com

We've taken a bit of a different approach to an Intel launch this time around. While we generally get our motherboard / CPU guy to take care of any kind of CPU / Chipset launch, we've added something extra into the mix.

Moving away from things like encoding times and boring synthetic bandwidth numbers, we get stuck into the fun stuff; games! - Using our normal video card benchmark suite which covers everything form 3DMark 11 too Direct X 11 games, we're going to find out, as a gamer, if this is a platform you should be eyeing off.

We've got the three major platforms on offer here today which of course include the P67 one, P55 which from today onward has become almost redundant, and still the top dog for the time being, the X58.

We won't go into any more detail, though, and instead just check out the test systems in a bit more detail on the next page. Before you jump forward, though, you might want to firstly check our initial piece covering some of the new CPUs that are launching with the new P67 chipset.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

As we mentioned in our introduction, we're using three platforms today, four CPUs and a total of five configurations. For the most part our X58 and P55 platforms don't hold any surprises, as we've been using them for a long time now, especially the X58 one which does all my video card content.

The other platform is of course the P67 one. For the motherboard we've got the new ASRock P67 Extreme6 which you'll no doubt see a standalone review for in the near future, and on the CPU front we've got both the new i5 2500K and i7 2600K.

P67 Sandy Bridge Gaming Performance Analysis 03 | TweakTown.com

Our four CPUs will be tested at their stock speeds which are mentioned in the above image. Along with that, we've also tested our 980X at 4.2GHz which is our normal VGA testbed speed. As for P67 overclocking, don't fear, it's something we'll be looking at in the coming days under these benchmarks.

When it came to throwing all these platforms through the ringer, only one GPU came to mind and that was the MSI GTX 580 that we recently tested. While AMD had no doubt hoped that at the end of 2010 they would hold the fastest single GPU video card on the market, they were unfortunately mistaken and NVIDIA continue to reign supreme in this instance with the GTX 580.

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Looking at 3DMark 11, our first benchmark, we can see that the new chips do a good job of out pacing the P55 based i7 in the Performance preset. When we move to the X preset where we shift our focus almost away from the CPU and purely on the video card, you can see all the platforms perform quite close to each other.

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Like 3DMark 11 the higher X preset places all the setups quite close to each other. Under the P preset, though, we see some strong performance from the new P67 platform and you can see that the new i7 2600K is even fighting with the much more expensive 980X.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Under Heaven Benchmark we can see that the P67 and P55 platforms sit quite close to each other. Really, only the X58 one with its $999 U.S. CPU is able to form any separation in this instance.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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While we've got good numbers across the board and all are similar at the highest resolution, the performance we're getting out of the i7 2600K is fantastic. You can see that at the lower resolution the i7 2600K setup is able to outperform the much more expensive, but slightly lower clocked 980X when both are running at stock.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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We again see that the i7 2600K is able to outperform the 980X at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. That extra 100MHz on offer from the stock clock would no doubt be helping the 2600K, but you can see the 2500K at 3.3GHz, the same clock as the 980X, shows both setups performing close together.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Under Mafia II we can really see the i7 P67 platform separate itself from the P55 i7 one with performance gains translating from 10% to 20% at 1920 x 1200 and below.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Across the board you can see that Lost Planet 2 numbers are almost identical with every setup. The reason for this is that we're limited by only the GPU power we've got on offer.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Aliens vs Predator again sees that all the setups perform very close to each other. The thing is, both this benchmark and the previous one really shows that you don't have to go all out and drop $999 U.S. on a CPU to make full use of a $529 US video card.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/

While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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Street Fighter IV is a good benchmark as we tend to be bottle necked by the CPU with such a high end video card. It gives us a good idea of how the CPU sits next to each other and you can really continue to see the i7 2600K and i7 980X battle it out against each other.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Across the board we can see a bit of separation with some of the setups. The P67 platform manages to perform very strong against the older P55 one in this instance and again we see it give the 980X a good run for its money.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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We've got good numbers across the board here, but we again see that there's some nice gains for the P67 platform over the P55 one.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

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When we start to crank up the detail and turn on AA, what you see is a heavy focus on the video card. What that means is that even with big speed increases on the CPU like the 980X at 4.2GHz, big gains aren't always seen.

Final Thoughts

There really is just some raw power being offered for gamers when it comes to the new P67 platform, especially when you look at the i7 2600K with its default 3.4GHz clock which is a whole 100MHz higher than the stock 980X that carries with it a much larger price tag.

What we're really seeing here today, though, is that if you're a gamer, you don't need to pair that $500 US video card up with a CPU that costs twice as much, especially when you look at stock speeds. And while we haven't looked at overclocking in this instance on the new P67 platform, initial testing has shown some very strong promise and we'll be offering you all these results soon with both the 2500K and 2600K overclocked as high as possible on our Noctua coolers.

In the end, though, you can see why Intel reign supreme in the CPU / Chipset department. The Sandy Bridge platform on a whole is looking to be something quite special when you consider the P67 motherboard which offers some nice features, but more importantly the new CPU line-up that's coming which carries with it some unreal performance.

From a gaming perspective, if you're on an X58 platform the chances are you're probably better off waiting to see what Intel offer as its replacement, as moving to a P67 would probably be a bit more of a sideways step. With that said, though, if you're running something older like an i7 920 which carries a stock 2.66GHz clock, the 2600K Sandy Bridge setup while only being dual channel would yield some nice performance increases, especially if you don't overclock.

Intel has got a real weapon on their hands when it comes to the new Sandy Bridge platform and the good news is that you're able to as well. What we're again seeing is that with a budget, your system can be blistering fast. There's a good chance that with the money you save by going down the P67 route instead of the X58 one, you've got the extra money to buy a faster video card and in the end that will make your P67 based system faster than an X58 one when it comes to gaming.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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