Core i-series is definitely a winner. I had a laptop with an i-3 that could process a file that took 50 minutes on a c2d in around 5 minutes.
Coupled with a good video card, not surprised you got such a score with that i-7. Next box will be i-7, nVidia. Nothing like 8 virtual processors...it's insane and God-like.
I can only agree. Intels newer models really offer massive performance but AMD's new Phenoms aren't bad either. At least for gaming.
I'd believe the minimum specs more than the benchmark.
The game will recieve further performance optimizations untill release and graphic card manufacturers will improve their drivers.
A "good" benchmark score of 2000-3000 should let you play the game without problems but maybe with reduced settings or lower resolution.
With a score of 1000-2000 I'd say you will have problems with places of high player or npc population.
Of course that's all just my guess of how things will work out, but I'd say you'll be fine with a box of current standard hardware.
At least you can use the benchmark to check where you need to improve your system if you are getting low scores.
I'll take my system for example.
CPU: Core i7-860 @2,8GHz
GPU: Radeon 5850
RAM: 8GB DDR3
OS: Win7 64bit
When running the benchmark the CPU load is around 10%-40% on all cores but GPU is running at 97%-99% the whole time.
So my GPU is the limiting factor.
Tested with CPU-Z, GPU-Z, and CoreTemp.
That being said. I wouldn't focus too much on benchmark results as long as you meet the minimum requirements.
Would be nice if someone had a machine with the minimum specs and would run the benchmark on it to see how it performs. Then you could at least check if the 1500 score really is the minimum you got to have.