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Benchmark Results: Content Creation

Intel Core i7-3930K And Core i7-3820: Sandy Bridge-E, Cheaper

A pretty easy analysis, 3ds Max 2012 clearly benefits from as many cores as you throw at it. Overclocking is enough to push the 4.625 GHz Core i7-3820 up next to a stock Core i7-990X. However, it’s the 4.5 GHz Core i7-3930K that really redefines performance here.

The one-second difference between Core i7-3930K and -3960X confirms what we originally suspected: there’s little reason to buy the $1000-dollar chip from a stock performance perspective.

In that same vein, a Core i7-3820 really doesn’t seem far enough superior to Core i7-2600K to warrant its more expensive platform.

The same holds true in Photoshop, and all six-core processors outperform their quad-core competition, regardless of architecture or clock rate. An overclocked Core i7-3930K really shines here, and we again see a close finish between the Core i7-3960X and -3930K at their respective stock clocks.

Accelerated by a GeForce GTX 580, this workload doesn’t take nearly as long as it used to. However, the compute muscle leveled against the task by a Core i7-3930K running at 4.5 GHz is enough to cut 10 seconds from the same processor tackling it at its stock speed.

Notoriously memory-hungry, After Effects reminds us that the overclocked machines only include 8 GB of memory, while all of the configurations with blue bars boast 32 GB (except for the X58-based Core i7-920, limited to 24 GB by its triple-channel controller).

If you’re a video editor, this chart should be proof positive that lots of RAM needs to be a priority. After all, it’d be a shame to sink your cash into a $600 CPU, overclock it, and still get outperformed by a $200 Core i5-2500K at its stock settings (but with more memory).

Though clearly well-threaded, Blender also demonstrates an affinity for the Sandy Bridge architecture running at high frequencies.  

A mix of architectural improvements and unadulterated clock rate propel the overclocked Core i7-3930K up ahead of the pack. A stock Core i7-3960X follows, trailed only just slightly by the Core i7-3930K at its default configuration.

The overclocked Core i7-3820 comes in fourth, ahead of the Gulftown-based Core i7-990X. But the fact that a Core i7-3820 at its stock settings falls into sixth place shows that parallelism matters just as much, if not more, than operating frequency.

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