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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i7-860S Quad 2.53GHz Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 32% 81%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 78% 144%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 73% 136%
Genshin Impact 0% 37%
eFootball PES 2021 42% 94%
Marvel's Avengers 73% 136%
Watch Dogs Legion 78% 144%
FIFA 21 24% 69%
Mafia: Definitive Edition 42% 94%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 50% 105%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-860S Quad 2.53GHz is massively better than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core i7-860S Quad was released over a year more recently than the Core 2 Quad, and so the Core i7-860S Quad is likely to have better levels of support, and will be more optimized for running the latest games.

The Core i7-860S Quad and the Core 2 Quad both have 4 cores, which is not likely to be a limiting factor for gaming.

The Core i7-860S Quad has 4 more threads than the Core 2 Quad. The Core 2 Quad has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i7-860S Quad uses hyperthreading and has 2 logical threads per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Core i7-860S Quad and Core 2 Quad are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core 2 Quad has a 0.13 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. As such, we need to look elsewhere for more reliable comparisons.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Core 2 Quad has a 5120 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i7-860S Quad, and although the Core 2 Quad does not appear to have an L3 cache, its larger L2 cache means that it wins out in this area.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core i7-860S Quad has a 13 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core 2 Quad (though they were created with the same size 45 nm manufacturing technology). What this means is the Core i7-860S Quad will consume slightly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill slightly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameLynnfieldYorkfield
MoBo SocketLGA 1156/Socket HLGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date03 Jan 201010 Aug 2008
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs4
CPU Threads8vs4
Clock Speed2.53 GHzvs2.66 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.46 GHzvs-
Max TDP82 Wvs95 W
Lithography45 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature-vs71°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size256 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size1024 KBvs6144 KB
L3 Cache Size8 MBvs-
Max Memory Size-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphics
Base GPU Frequency-vs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore i7-860S Quad 2.53GHz is a power efficient CPU based on the 45nm, Nehalem architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (8 Logical), initially clocked at 2.53GHz, which may go up to 3.46GHz and 8MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrated any graphics and has a rated board TDP of 82W.

It is a powerful Quad Core whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.
Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz is a high-end Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.66GHz and 6MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 95W.

It offers average performance. It will therefore become a bottleneck in today's demanding games.