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Performance in Applications

I have to admit that the overall picture of the new quad-core LGA 2011 processor is not that radiant. This relatively inexpensive processor for the most expensive desktop platform doesn’t let you build a solution with good price-to-performance ratio. An LGA 1155 platform with a Core i7-2600K or a Core i7-2700K processor inside seems to be much more appealing. However, let’s see how fast Core i7-3820 actually is in different resource-hungry applications. As we have just seen in 3DMark11, there are a few exceptions, which may end up becoming a determinative argument in favor of the new quad-core offering.

To test the processors performance during data archiving we resort to WinRAR archiving utility. Using maximum compression rate we archive a folder with multiple files with 1.4 GB total size.

Core i7-3820 and Core i7-2700K perform equally fast during data compression. In overclocked mode the LGA 2011 processor looks better, but the leadership in both cases belongs to a six-core Core i7-3930K with the highest computational  capacity of all today’s testing participants.

We use Apple iTunes utility to test audio transcoding speed. It transcodes the contents of a CD disk into AAC format. Note that the typical peculiarity of this utility is its ability to utilize only a pair of processor cores.

All processors participating in our today’s test session demonstrate almost the same results in the nominal mode (Core i7-2700K is a little bit ahead). This situation serves as a good illustration of how the frequencies even out when Turbo mode kicks in. During overclocking, when Turbo mode doesn’t work, audio transcoding speed depends directly on the clock frequency.

We measured the performance in Adobe Photoshop using our own benchmark made from Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test that has been creatively modified. It includes typical editing of four 10-megapixel images from a digital photo camera.

This is a pretty common situation. Quad-core Core i7-2700K processor for LGA 1155 platform outperforms the LGA 2011 newcomer, Core i7-3820, but both of them are pushed back by the six computational cores in Core i7-3930K. Overclocking doesn’t change the ranking in any way.

Now that the eighth version of the popular scientific Mathematica suite I available, we decided to bring it back as one of our regular benchmarks. We use MathematicaMark8 integrated into this suite to test the systems performance:

Mathematica is an example of an application where Core i7-3820 works faster than the LGA 1155 products due to its higher nominal clock frequency. Moreover, it also manages to outperform its six-core relative. However, everything goes back to “normal” in overclocked mode when Core i7-3930K and Core i7-3820 work at the same 5.7 GHz frequency and Core i7-2700K runs at 4.9 GHz.

The performance in Adobe Premiere Pro is determined by the time it takes to render a Blu-ray project with a HDV 1080p25 video into H.264 format and apply different special effects to it.

It is a known fact that multi-core processors cope better with video content processing and transcoding. That is why you shouldn’t be surprised that Core i7-3930K is so far ahead in the nominal as well as overclocked mode. As for the score ranking among quad-core processors, the best performance belongs to those units that boast higher clock speeds. In other words, Core i7-3820 is leading in the nominal mode, but during overclocking Core i7-2700K takes over the first place.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD Benchmark 4.0. It works with an original MPEG-2 video recorded in 720p resolution with 4 Mbps bitrate. I have to say that the results of this test are of great practical value, because the x264 codec is also part of numerous popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc.

The results during common HD video transcoding with a popular x264 codec are ranked exactly the same way as in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Following up on our readers’ requests, we decided to include another benchmark working with HD video content into our testing suite – SVPmark3. This is a special test measuring system performance in the SmoothVideo Project suite, which improves video smoothness by adding new frames with intermediate positions of the objects in the video. The numbers on the diagram are the test results taken on actual FullHD video fragments without involving the graphics accelerator.

Now there are no doubts that during video processing LGA 2011 platform with a Core i7-3820 processor inside is always faster than an LGA 1155 system, even if the latter features a flagship Core i7-2700K CPU. Clock frequency is the most important parameter for tasks like that, and Core i7-3820 works at higher clocks originally. However, there are two things to keep in mind in this case. First, if we consider the possibility of overclocking, then LGA 1155 processors may end up being better, because they have higher frequency potential. And second, six-core LGA 2011 Core i7 processors will in any case demonstrate better performance during video processing tasks.

We will test computational performance and rendering speeds in Autodesk 3ds max 2011 using the special SPECapc for 3ds max 2011 benchmark:

3D modeling tasks, such as 3ds max 2011, also belong to computationally heavy applications. Therefore, the platforms that feature (1) processors with larger number of cores, and (2) processors with higher clock frequencies will be better suited for applications like that. No wonder that the diagram above shows pretty much the same situation as we have already seen during our HD video processing tests.

Another benchmark measuring the final rendering speed in 3D modeling suites was run in Blender 2.6.

Have you expected to see anything else? As we have anticipated, the overall picture is just the same as in 3ds max.

This way the relative performance of the quad-core Core i7-3820 looks about the same as that of the six-core LGA 2011 processors, adjusted for the number of cores. Core i7-3820 works at a higher nominal clock frequency than Core i7-2700K that is why it works faster than LGA 1155 CPUs in purely computational tasks. However, Core i7-2700K and Core i7-2600K processors have their own advantages: L3 cache with lower latency and a more efficient memory controller. As a result, Core i7-3820 yields to Core i7-2700K in applications working intensively with large volumes of data. Moreover, LGA 1155 processors are very efficient during overclocking: their frequency potential is generally higher than that of LGA 2011 CPUs and in the end they perform faster because of that.

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