legionhardware again. I know. Let's review the details
In the past we have compared the Phenom X4 9850 to the Core 2 Duo E8400 using GeForce 8800 GTX and 9800 GTX graphics cards. For the most part the E8400 was only slightly faster, while there were a few rare cases of the Phenom X4 9850 taking the lead. However as we just found when testing with the GeForce 9800 GX2, the Phenom X4 9850 gets blitzed by Intel’s 45nm dual-core series. At this point in time I am not quite sure why this is, why does the GeForce 9800 GX2 not perform on the AM2+ platform or why can’t the Phenom X4 9850 push it hard enough?
The Phenom X4 9850 processor was tested with the GeForce 9800 GX2 on three different motherboards using three different chipsets and the results all came back very much the same. Of course the Phenom X4 9850 was unfortunately limited to 2.50GHz throughout the testing phase, as we have so far been unable to successfully overclock our processor. Until we are able to pick up a new Phenom X4 9850 we will not know with any real certainty if it is the processor or the setup that is limiting us.
Although the Phenom X4 9850 was limited to 2.50GHz, it was interesting to note that for the most part this processor did not scale all that well from 2.00GHz to 2.50GHz, as most games showed very small performance gains. This leaves us wondering just how potent a Phenom X4 processor would be at 3.00GHz when compared to the new 45nm Intel processors. No doubt AMD fans are going to be upset with our findings here today, but I assure you we did everything we could to try and improve the performance of the Phenom with the GeForce 9800 GX2.
Moving on, when we published our GeForce 8800 GTX CPU Scaling article back in 2006 we found that this high-end graphics card was being limited by lower clocked Core 2 Duo and Athlon64 X2 processors, at least not nearly as much as we had suspected. However we did make use of some very heavy AA/AF settings back then where as today we have decided to disable these quality settings. The dual-GPU GeForce 9800 GX2 certainly has more power to burn when compared to the GeForce 8800 GTX, and as a result we found that by throwing more and more CPU power at it we continued to receive more and more performance.
This means those possessing a GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card are ideally after a high-clocked Core 2 processor. Currently AMD are targeting the mid-range segment nicely with their Phenom X4 processors, but those looking for true high-end performance need only look at the Core 2 range. While the 45nm quad-core processors did offer the fastest performance, they were only able to edge out their dual-core partners by a few frames per second in most of the games tested. There we recommend that gamers running a GeForce 9800 GX2 really only need a Core 2 Duo processor to get the most out of this graphics card.