Articles: CPU

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Performance Tests

General Performance

As usual, we use the Bapco SYSmark 2012 suite to estimate performance in general-purpose tasks. It emulates a user working in popular office and digital content creation and processing applications. The idea behind this test is fairly simple: it produces a single score indicative of the computer’s average performance across different applications. After the Windows 8 launch, SYSmark 2012 got updated to version 1.5, so we use that adapted version for our tests.

As expected, the Ivy Bridge-E processors are 3 to 6% faster than their predecessors, largely due to the difference in their clock rates. Yet even this small improvement is enough to make the $583 Core i7-4930K as fast as the $1000 Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition which belongs to the previous generation.

The top-end Haswell-based CPU has become a dangerous opponent for the LGA2011 platform. The quad-core Core i7-4770K is almost as fast as the six-core Ivy Bridge-E, suggesting that Intel has been too slow to update its enthusiast-targeted solution. Moreover, the difference in the CPU designs for the LGA2011 and LGA1150 platforms makes the new quad-core Ivy Bridge-E (Core i7-4830K) look very poor in comparison with the Haswell. It is slower by up to 13%, which makes the very idea of a quad-core Ivy Bridge-E dubious.

Let’s take a closer look at the performance scores SYSmark 2012 generates in different usage scenarios. The Office Productivity scenario emulates typical office tasks, such as text editing, spreadsheets, email and web-surfing. This scenario uses the following applications: ABBYY FineReader Pro 10.0, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Word 2010 and WinZip Pro 14.5.

The Media Creation scenario emulates the creation of a video clip out of prepared materials (digital images and videos) using popular tools from Adobe: Photoshop CS5 Extended, Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5.

Web Development is a scenario emulating website authoring. It uses the following applications: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 10.

The Data/Financial Analysis scenario is devoted to statistical and market analysis by means of Microsoft Excel 2010.

The 3D Modeling scenario is about creating 3D models and rendering static and dynamic scenes using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 and Google SketchUp Pro 8.

The last scenario, System Management, creates backups and installs software and updates. It involves several different versions of Mozilla Firefox Installer and WinZip Pro 14.5.

The results of our CPUs in the different usage scenarios prove what we’ve already said above. Intel’s procrastination in updating the microarchitecture of its flagship CPUs has provoked an internal competition between the LGA1150 and LGA2011 platforms. The Ivy Bridge-E series can’t be viewed as the fastest CPUs available today. The extra computing cores, larger L3 cache and higher clock rates do not help them beat the Haswell, so the Core i7-4770K proves to be a more preferable choice for office and system applications than the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition. On the other hand, the LGA2011 platform is unrivalled when it comes to multithreaded applications (web development, financial calculations, 3D modeling, etc), which means that the Ivy Bridge-E is optimal for high-performance workstations rather than for home computers.

Now let’s check out the new Ivy Bridge-E CPUs in specific applications, starting from games.

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