First we’re going to test multi-core performance in a single GPU environment. We took a single GeForce 7900 GTX and hooked it up to the overclocked Core 2 Extreme processor, running with 1, 2, and 4 processing cores enabled:
Performance was indistinguishable between all three configs in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with the single GeForce 7900 GTX card. Even at lower resolutions where the CPU is pushed harder we saw no performance change. You’d likely have to drop down to 800x600 to see any real benefits. What happens when two GeForce 7900 GTX cards are paired together for SLI though?
As you can see, we saw a slight performance boost when going from one processing core to two, 4% at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 on the 7900 GTX SLI setup, The single-core Core 2 CPU just can’t keep the 7900 GTX SLI setup fed with data, although a 4% difference isn’t all that dramatic honestly. When moving from 2 cores to 4, performance was unchanged.
In other words, if you’ve got a single graphics card, chances are you won’t see much of a performance difference going from a single processing core to dual-core or quad-core. Faster graphics cards like the SLI setups and GeForce 8800 cards will show the best performance improvements.