Testbed and Methods
Frankly speaking, testing Core i7 processors is not that much fun. We have already pointed out six months ago that Core i7 processors are so good at splitting the load into multiple parallel threads that no one can match them in resource-hungry tasks. And they may even fall behind previous generation Core 2 Quad in applications that aren’t well optimized for multi-core architectures. Since nothing has really changed in the upper price segment of the CPU market since then, we actually already know the outcome of this test session.
Nevertheless, in our today’s article we are going to compare the performance of the newly announced Core i7-975 XE and i7-950 processors with that of the previous generation solutions from the same family as well as top models in other quad-core processor families.
During our performance tests we used the following hardware and software components:
- AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE (Deneb, 3.2 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2, 6 MB L3);
- Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (Yorkfield, 3.2 GHz, 1600 MHz FSB, 2 x 6 MB L2);
- Intel Core i7-975 XE (Bloomfield, 3.33 GHz, 6.4 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-965 XE (Bloomfield, 3.2 GHz, 6.4 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield, 3.06 GHz, 4.8 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-940 (Bloomfield, 2.93 GHz, 4.8 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield, 2.66 GHz, 4.8 GHz QPI, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3).
- ASUS P5E3 Premium/Wi-Fi@n (LGA775, Intel X48, DDR3 SDRAM);
- Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 (LGA1366, Intel X58 Express);
- Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P (Socket AM3, AMD 790FX + SB750, DDR3 SDRAM).
- Mushkin 996601 4GB XP3-12800 (2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1600 SDRAM, 7-7-7-20);
- Mushkin 998679 6GB XP3-12800 (3 x 2 GB, DDR3-1600 SDRAM, 8-8-8-24).
- Graphics card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4890;
- HDD: Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFD;
- PSU: SilverStone SST-ST85ZF (850 W);
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows Vista x64 SP1;
- Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility 126.96.36.1997;
- ATI Catalyst 9.5 Display Driver.
We would also like to point out that we have slightly changed the list of test tools and applications, focusing mostly on heavy tasks dealing with media content creation and processing.