A new blog post at AnandTech states Intel's new Core i7 "Nehalem" processors aren't really about gaming performance but about improving HPC, database and virtualization performance. Here's a snip:
Nehalem is about improving HPC, Database and virtualization performance, much less about gaming performance. Maybe this will change once games get some heavy physics threads, but not right away.
Why? Most Games are about fast caches and super integer performance. After all, most of the Floating point action is already happening on the GPU. All Core 2 CPUs were a huge step forward in integer performance (not in the least because of memory disambiguation) compared to the CPUs of that time (P4 and K8). Nehalem is only a small step forward in integer performance. And the gains due to slightly increased integer performance are mostly negated by the new cache system. In a previous post I told you that most games really like the huge L2 of the Core family. With Nehalem they are getting a 32 KB L1 with a 4 cycle latency, next a very small (compared to the older Intel CPUs) 256 KB L2 cache with 12 cycle latency and after that a pretty slow 40 cycle 8 MB L3. When running on Penryn, they used to get a 3 cycle L1 and a 14 cycle 6144 KB L2. That is a 24 times larger L2 than Nehalem!