Articles: CPU

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Performance in Applications

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.

Although LGA 1155 and LGA 1366 processors work at higher clock speeds, Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K perform better in archiving tasks. Additional cores, large cache and Sandy Bridge architecture ensure 19% advantage of Core i7-3960X over Core i7-990X and Core i7-2700K.

The second similar archiving test is performed in 7-zip utility that uses LZMA2 compression algorithm.

The number of cores matters even more in 7-zip. As a result, Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K work guaranteed faster than their quad-core rivals. As for the performance of a six-core Core i7-990X with the old Nehalem microarchitecture inside, it appears very close in performance to Core i7-3930K.

The processor performance during encryption is measured with an integrated benchmark from a popular cryptographic utility called TrueCrypt. I have to say that it can not only effectively utilize any number of processor cores, but also supports special AES instructions.

Since all current Intel processors support AESNI instructions, the number of computational cores and their performance determine the outcome of the encryption tests. Therefore, six-core processors are significantly ahead of the quad-core ones, and the previous-generation Core i7-990X Extreme Edition performs about as fast as Core i7-3930K.

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.

The performance of applications that generate few computational threads depends a lot on the way Turbo Boost technology works in each particular processor. It is very aggressive in LGA 2011 CPUs: these processors may vary their clock frequency within 600 MHz interval. However, it is still not enough to successfully compete against Core i7-2700K and Core i7-2600K, which turn out faster in this case.

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.

The advantages of the LGA 2011 platform and the corresponding processors allow us to recommend these systems primarily to those who work with creation and processing of versatile digital content. Photoshop test is the first practical confirmation we get, as Core i7-3960X is 11% faster than Core i7-2700K and 26% faster than Core i7-990X.

We have also performed some tests in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 program. The test scenario includes post-processing and export into JPEG format of a hundred 12-megapixel images in RAW format.

Lightroom knows how to split photo processing between any number of cores that is why six-core LGA 2011 processors are at least 25-30% faster than Intel’s quad-core ones.

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.

In fact, here we have to repeat everything we have already said before. When it comes to content creation and processing, LGA 2011 platform is beyond all competition. Even the “junior” Core i7-3930K outperforms the new LGA 1155 Core i7-2700K by 22% due to six computational cores. However, it also looks great compared to Core i7-990X. The difference in this case makes 10% in favor of the new LGA 2011 representative.

We estimated the video editing speed in Adobe After Effects by measuring the time it took to apply a combination of filters and special effects such as blur, bulge, frame blending, glow, motion blurring, fading, 2D and 3D manipulation, invert, etc.

The situation in Adobe After Effects is pretty much the same as in Adobe Premiere Pro.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD benchmark. 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.

We don’t see anything principally new when we run the transcoding tests using x264 codec. Sandy Bridge-E processors work well with HD video: they have six fully-fledged cores at their disposal and new microarchitecture with high performance per core. However, it is important to remember that Sandy Bridge-E do not have an integrated graphics core and do not support Quick Sync technology. It means that many commercial unities for “fast” video transcoding and playback on mobile devices (such as the ones from Cyberlink, Badaboom and Arcsoft) will be able to run much faster on LGA 1155 processors. So, Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K are better suited for quality and not fast everyday content transcoding.

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

Final rendering is another example of a task running super-smoothly on the new LGA 2011 platform. However, there is nothing to be surprised with here. This desktop platform is the closest relative of the same platform for serves and workstations dealing with rendering tasks on an everyday basis.

If we consider the average or all results obtained in individual applications we can conclude that in our specific case Core i7-3960X proved to be about 11% faster than Core i7-990X and 27% faster than Core i7-2700K. For Core i7-3930K these numbers are a little lower: 8% and 14% respectively. As for the AMD processors including an eight-core Bulldozer, the new 3000-series Core i7 processors are unattainable for them. For example, the difference in average performance between AMD FX-8150 and Core i7-3960X is about 1.5 times.

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