While Crysis isn't so useful as a graphics card test any more, it does show how the speed of a CPU can affect game performance very well. We patch Crysis to v1.21 and run it in DirectX 10 mode with High detail settings. We use 1,680 x 1,050 with no AA and no AF to give a reasonably real-world test without the risk that the graphics card will be a limiting factor to CPU performance.
We use the Assault Habour test in the Crysis benchmark tool to play back a section of night combat. We repeat this test three times, or until a reliable set of results is achieved.
1,680 x 1,050, no AA, no AF, DX10, 64-bit, High settings
X3: Terran Conflict is the latest space-based trading and fighting game in the X3 series. It uses masses of polygons and geometry to create the complex ships, so it's a very stressful test for a CPU.
Remember that it's the CPU that constructs the wire-frame models of game objects, before a GPU can apply texture and lighting.
To run the benchmark, first download the rolling demo and set the graphics options as below. Then remember to tick the 'Run as benchmark' box and hit go. We average the results of the four component tests to give a single minimum and average frame rate.