It’s very often that I talk about tech and a retail company at the same time. I tend to stay away from the retail side because consumers always have their preferred suppliers. That being said, recently (well if you asked the PR peeps, not so recently) I had the chance to go check out Intel’s top level processor in action, the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition, or Broadwell E in short.
This was all arranged to go and see over at the Playtech offices who have partnered with the fine folks at Intel to create an absolute beast of a gaming rig to show off the Broadwell E and also show what such a chip can do when combined with components put together by people who know what they were doing. I spoke to Greg, the Playtech Marketing Manager and it became very clear that these guys know what they are doing when it comes to building custom PC’s, more specifically gaming PC’s. Playtech are the leading custom PC makers in New Zealand and have vast experience in putting together the best setup’s at any price. Whether on a budget or you have a Lotto windfall to spend, Playtech can put together a machine that is going to deliver the best setup that you’re hard earned cash can buy, regardless of how much funds you have available.
Anyway, over to the Intel Broadwell E….
The chip is an absolute beast, featuring 10 cores hyper-threading for insane performance, coupled with Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 and 40 PCIe lanes. The chip itself is clocked at 3Ghz and can turbo boost up to 3.5Ghz.
The rig that Playtech had put together was as close to a match made in heaven for the Intel chip as possible. Intel i7 Extreme Edition, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD and an nVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU. THe only way the rig could have been any better was if it had a GTX 1080 inside but with the Intel processor and all that RAM on board the 1070 is more than adequate to create a kickass gaming experience.
The use of the PCIe lanes is interesting, each game makes use of the lanes differently, some games focus on processing over a couple of lanes, whereas others will spread the load over all of the available resources. In practice though, whether a game was running over a few lanes or all of them performance was never diminished.
I tried three games, Project CARS, DOOM and Rise of the Tomb Raider. The setup was a dual screen setup primarily just to have the system resources open on one screen and the game playing on the other. The monitor used was cranking out the visuals at 1080p.
SO how did the games perform? The short answer is extremely well! The slightly longer answer, read on to find out.
First up was Rise of the Tomb Raider. I was really excited to check this out, I played it on XBox ONe and was really impressed with how good it looked. Running with the power of an Intel i7 Extreme Edition, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see. Graphically, Rise of the Tomb Raider was stunning, the fine detail on Lara was spot on, the draw distance equally impressive, and the subtle effects like snow and rock faces were very well rendered. I found myself stopping to marvel at how beautiful this environment was. Then I looked at the frame rate and was blown away! After rubbing my eyes and pinching myself I realised I wasn’t dreaming and that Rise of the Tomb Raider was pulling 110 frames per second. That’s right 110 frames per second! For a guy that spends most of his time gaming on console and has only ever experience mediocre PC gaming I wasn’t prepared for such gorgeous graphics couple with framerates smoother than spreading butter on hot toast.
Next up was Project CARS. Admittedly I spent the least amount of time playing this game. NOt because it performed terribly but because it just doesn’t work properly with keyboard, mouse and dual-screen. Yes I know I should have had a steering wheel but I didn’t have one there so I had to work with what was available. Unfortunately turning to the left resulting with my mouse frequently moving to the other screen which caused the game to pause because it thought I wasn’t playing anymore. That aside though, I saw the best looking racing game I have ever seen (of course due to the rig, I still rate Forza Horizon 3 as my all time favourite racing game) and it was running at 100 frames per second.
Last up was the game I spent the most time with, DOOM. I love the new DOOM I’m not gonna lie. The fast paced FPS action and killing horde after horde of hellspawned demons is some of the most fun I’ve had with an FPS in some time. Playing it with Playtech’s Intel i7 Extreme Edition rig is a match made in heaven, or is that a match made in hell since it was DOOM? Either way, DOOM was running at 125 frames per second. I’ve already used the smooth like spreading butter metaphor so I can’t reuse it but I;’m sure you get the idea. When you are playing a fast paced shooter like DOOM with frame rates that high the game feels even faster. It took some getting used to but once adjusted to the speed the experience was unparalleled. Even with wave after wave of demons coming at me, the Intel chip was barely working at that GTX 1070 just kept pushing a steady 125 frames per second with no hint of wanting to take a break.
This rig from Playtech is an absolute beast. Exact price on how much a rig like that would cost to build I’m guessing would be heading towards the $10,000 mark, with the Intel i7 Extreme Edition costing $2,679 on it’s own. At those sorts of prices this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you have the money and you want the best performance then the Intel i7 Extreme Edition is the chip for you. It goes beyond gaming though, a chip with that much power is able to multitask like a boss and if you are running any graphics intensive apps, gaming or not, this chip with a good graphics card is going to deliver the best performance that you’ll see on the market today.