HardOCP just posted a new review testing top dual core processors in games (as opposed to benches).
Glad I stayed single core.
"Dual Core Gaming For The Win?
There just simply arenâ€™t any major 3D game titles that utilize dual core processors in any way that is advantageous. Yes, NVIDIA drivers â€œsupportâ€ dual core CPUs and are able to leverage the second core for some offloading of driver work but this did not result in any tangible real-world benefits at all. We are sorry to say if you are purchasing a dual core CPU in hopes of better gameplay you arenâ€™t going to see any difference right now. The major discerning performance factors in games are going to be the frequency of your CPU and your level of GPU. Hopefully games in the future will properly support and benefit from dual core CPUs.
If you are building a system for 3D gaming, save your dual core budget and spend it on GHz.
Dual Core Problems
In our gameplay we did come across some problems that we believe are associated with dual core CPUs, games and possibly drivers. There were times in some games, such as F.E.A.R. that we would â€˜feelâ€™ a slowdown in the framerate. It was as if we were moving along smoothly and then out of no where, unexpectedly in situations not typical of bringing the framerate down we would feel a change in the framerate. Now, it wasnâ€™t enough of a drop to bring us below 30 FPS or cause the game to not be playable. It was however a slight annoyance because when you are at a high framerate and the framerate drops, letâ€™s say for example from 80 FPS to 50 or 40 FPS you feel that change in the framerate and it may bother you.
We feel this is a problem with dual core CPUs because we did not experience this problem with the single core 2.8 GHz Prescott or our regular single core FX-55 we test with on a regular basis. This was only felt on the dual core CPUs. We arenâ€™t sure if this is a game problem with the way it interacts with the CPUs or if it is a driver problem as well, all we know is that it happened with the dual core CPUs and it didnâ€™t happen with the single core CPUs.
Another issue which really isnâ€™t a problem is some weird framerate capping in World of Warcraft with dual core CPUs. Head back to page 6 of this evaluation and look at the World of Warcraft graphs. Look at the Pentium 4 2.8 GHz Prescott single core CPU graphs. You can see that the framerate has a maximum that goes well up to 100 FPS. Now look at the dual core CPU graphs. It seems the framerate is being capped at around 65 FPS. This is extremely odd, we verified VSYNC was off, our monitor was at 75 Hz anyways at 1600x1200, yet the framerate seemed to be capped at 65 FPS. This only occurred with the dual core CPUs. It is a weird issue but one that wasnâ€™t detrimental to gameplay since 65 FPS is plenty of performance for smooth gameplay. It was just worth noting because there does seem to be something different going on in World of Warcraft between single and dual core CPU."
Note that they tested both the top Intel and AMD Dual Core processors.
"For our readers that donâ€™t live and die by whether or not they got in 4 hours on a Counter Strike Source server after work, and simply want solid gaming action on a newer mid or high end video card, an AMD Athlon 64 running at 2.0GHz or Intel Pentium at 3GHz will likely meet your needs. Be aware that as your Intel CPUs start dropping below 3GHz and your AMD CPUs below 2GHz, you are likely going to see it negatively impact your systemâ€™s gaming ability depending on your video card.
For our died-in-the-wool gamers that are spending a few hundred dollars or more on your high end video cards, make sure your AMD Athlon 64 processors are at least 2.4GHz in processor speed, and your Intel processors clock in at least at the 3.2GHz mark. If you let your CPUs fall below these levels, odds are that you are not using your GPU to its fullest ability."