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Benchmark Results: Sandra 2011

Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) And X79 Platform Preview

There are obvious reasons to want a six-core CPU over a quad-core model, but the IPC-oriented improvements made to Sandy Bridge keep Intel’s latest architecture competitive in Sandra’s Arithmetic benchmark. Sandy Bridge-E combines them, though, yielding significant gains.

The Multimedia test is a little less telling. However, Sandy Bridge-E again scores another win over Gulftown.

We were already impressed by improvements made to AES-NI moving from the Nehalem to Sandy Bridge architectures. However, Sandy Bridge-E takes this metric to another level entirely, turning a 50% increase in core count to a more than 100% boost to AES256 hashing bandwidth.

Memory bandwidth also shoots up, as expected. Why doesn’t the Gulftown-based Core i7-990X perform more aggressively? Its triple-channel memory controller is officially limited to DDR3-1066, capping peak throughput at 25.6 GB/s. The dual-channel Core i7-2600K supports DDR3-1333, so its ceiling is 21.3 GB/s. Meanwhile, our 32 GB memory kit runs with no issues at the Core i7-3960X’s purported DDR3-1600 data rate, topping out with a 51.2 GB/s maximum.

Of course, none of these configurations hit their theoretical limits. But we do see tremendous memory bandwidth from Sandy Bridge-E anyway, which will become more important in the enterprise workloads that multi-processor Xeon E5s wind up addressing.

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