60 FPS gaming with a 10 year-old CPU: legendary Sandy Bridge i7-2600K delivers solid gaming results when paired with the RX 6900XT
Intel's 2nd-gen Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K was recently tested out in a set of modern gaming benchmarks by Russian outlet Gecid.com. The benches confirm that the decade-old chip still performs admirably well in 2021's most punishing games. In some ways, though, the benchmarks are also an indictment of Intel's sluggish pace at CPU innovation.
The Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K was part of Intel's second-generation "Core i" lineup. These 32nm parts featured an overhauled CPU architecture that boasted major gains to IPC over the first-gen Nehalem chips.
After Sandy Bridge, though, Intel's only delivered single-digit gaming performance gains with each subsequent CPU gen. And because of the company's 14nm woes, the sixth-gen Skylake architecture was respun for five generations. Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake and 12th-gen Alder Lake parts represent the first major architectural overhauls in a decade. All of this means that the 2011-vintage Core i7-2600K remains surprisingly powerful in 2021, especially with an overclock to 4.5 GHz in place.
Gecid.com's benchmarks showcase just how well the overclocked Core i7-2600K does. While microstutter was a recurrent issue, the i7-2600K had no trouble delivering framerates in excess of 100 FPS in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo: Infinite. Even Red Dead Redemption 2, a notorious CPU hog, delivered a 60 FPS experience, albeit with a minimum framerate in the low-50s. The Core i7-2600K struggled to hand in 60 FPS in a handful of titles including Far Cry 6 and Cyberpunk 2077.
However, it's hard to understate just how impressive the decade-old CPU's overall performance was. To put things into comparison, the GeForce GTX 580, a flagship GPU that launched the same year as the 2600K, averages 15 FPS at 720p in Red Dead Redemption 2, when paired with a modern CPU.
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