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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Xeon E3-1220 v3 Core i5-680 3.6GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 7% 103%
Halo: Reach 55% 1%
Red Dead Redemption 2 9% 139%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 19% 77%
Doom Eternal 10% 96%
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot 18% 80%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 19% 160%
FIFA 20 22% 71%
Need For Speed Heat 8% 102%
Grand Theft Auto VI 48% 224%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Xeon E3-1220 v3 is massively better than the Intel Core i5-680 3.6GHz 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 Xeon E3-1220 v3 was released over three years more recently than the Core i5-680 3.6GHz, and so the Xeon E3-1220 v3 is likely to have far better levels of support, and will be much more optimized and ultimately superior to the Core i5-680 3.6GHz when running the latest games.

The Xeon E3-1220 v3 has 2 more cores than the Core i5-680 3.6GHz. With 4 cores, the Xeon E3-1220 v3 is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Xeon E3-1220 v3 and the Intel Core i5-680 3.6GHz have the same number of threads. The Xeon E3-1220 v3 has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i5-680 3.6GHz 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 Xeon E3-1220 v3 and Core i5-680 3.6GHz 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 i5-680 3.6GHz has a 0.5 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. In this case, however, the difference is enough that it possibly indicates the superiority of the Xeon E3-1220 v3.

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 Xeon E3-1220 v3 has a 512 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i5-680 3.6GHz, which means that it, at worst, wins out in this area, and at best, will provide superior gaming performance and will work much better with high-end graphics cards.

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 i5-680 3.6GHz has a 7 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Xeon E3-1220 v3. However, the Xeon E3-1220 v3 was created with a 10 nm smaller manufacturing technology. Overall, by taking both into account, the Xeon E3-1220 v3 is likely the CPU with the lower heat production and power requirements, by a small amount.

The Core i5-680 3.6GHz has an on-board GPU, which means that it will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card. The Xeon E3-1220 v3, however, does not, and you will probably have to look for a dedicated card if you wish to use it at all.

For in-depth GPU comparisons with the HD i5 680, click on the following GPU overview comparison icon (visible throughout Game-Debate), and choose a GPU from the list to compare against:

On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameHaswellClarkdale
MoBo SocketLGA 1150LGA 1156/Socket H
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date02 Jun 201318 Apr 2010
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs2
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed3.1 GHzvs3.6 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.5 GHzvs3.86 GHz
Max TDP80 Wvs73 W
Lithography22 nmvs32 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature-vs73°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size256 KBvs128 KB
L2 Cache Size1024 KBvs512 KB
L3 Cache Size8 MBvs4 MB
Max Memory Size-vs16 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsHD i5 680
Base GPU Frequency-vs733 MHz
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs10
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 ReviewXeon E3-1220 v3 is a Server Processor based on the 22nm, Haswell architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.1GHz, which may go up to 3.5GHz and 8MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor DOES NOT Integrate any Graphics and shares the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.

Though not created for gaming purposes, its performance is exceptionally good and enough for even the most demanding applications.
Core i5-680 3.6GHz is a performance CPU based on the 45nm, Nehalem architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.6GHz, which may go up to 3.86GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates very weak Graphics called Intel i5 680, with XX Execution Units, clocked at 733MHz which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 73W.

It offers average performance. This means it will become a bottleneck in some demanding applications.

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