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Benchmark Results: Productivity

Core i7-3970X Extreme Review: Can It Stomp An Eight-Core Xeon?
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Today marks the first time I’ve ever seen a single-processor system break under the one-minute threshold in our ABBYY FineReader 10 test. This application utilizes as many cores as you throw at it, allowing the Xeon E5-2687W to wrap up while AMD’s “eight-core” FX-8150 is still only halfway done.

Intel’s Core i7-3970X finishes in second, but is only three seconds faster than Core i7-3930K, which sells for less than $600.

Printing a PowerPoint document to PDF is another single-threaded workload. So, the higher IPC throughput of Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture prevails. It’s only by the implementation of Turbo Boost that the Core i7-3970X accelerates to 4 GHz, beating Intel’s Core i7-3470, which is limited to 3.6 GHz.

In sharp contrast, our Visual Studio 2010 benchmark is very well threaded. It actually tends to take longer than any other test in our suite. On a Phenom II X4 980, for instance, compiling Google Chrome is an almost 40-minute process.

If you’re lucky enough to own a Xeon E5-2687W, however, the whole job finishes in just over 14 minutes. A Core i7-3970X makes you wait a couple of minutes longer, but once you step into the world of LGA 1155-based quad-core CPUs, performance really starts to drop off.

The latest version of the German chess program Fritz puts Intel’s Xeon E5 to good use, more than doubling the number of kilonodes/second AMD’s FX-8150 achieves.

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  • 31 Hide
    tumetsu , November 10, 2012 7:26 PM
    I've recently started facepalming every time I see BF3 in CPU benchmarks. "Boy oh boy, this hasn't been confirmed like a hundred times already but the single player is decidedly graphics-bound, so here, have these charts with identical results anyway."
  • 28 Hide
    jaquith , November 10, 2012 6:59 PM
    Boo on Intel for not enabling all 8-cores especially at that price!
  • 26 Hide
    amuffin , November 10, 2012 6:45 PM
    100mhz faster than the 3960X, not worth the extra premium.

    Same thing goes for the 3960X compared to the 3930K....not worth the extra 100mhz for $400....
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    amuffin , November 10, 2012 6:45 PM
    100mhz faster than the 3960X, not worth the extra premium.

    Same thing goes for the 3960X compared to the 3930K....not worth the extra 100mhz for $400....
  • 28 Hide
    jaquith , November 10, 2012 6:59 PM
    Boo on Intel for not enabling all 8-cores especially at that price!
  • 31 Hide
    tumetsu , November 10, 2012 7:26 PM
    I've recently started facepalming every time I see BF3 in CPU benchmarks. "Boy oh boy, this hasn't been confirmed like a hundred times already but the single player is decidedly graphics-bound, so here, have these charts with identical results anyway."
  • 15 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , November 10, 2012 7:29 PM
    jaquithBoo on Intel for not enabling all 8-cores especially at that price!

    They don't have much of a choice when it comes to the i7's. With the 32nm Sandy Bridge-E Intel has to make a choice between prioritizing clocks or core count within a 150W TDP, based on the target workload for a particular processor. For Xeon's the choice is easy, more cores. For desktop applications the choice isn't as clear, but I think most users would still benefit more from a higher clocked 6-core than a lower claocked 8-core. That's slowly changing though.

    Intel also doesn't want a situation where their LGA 1155 processors outperform their $1000 extreme edition in lightly threaded workloads, which is yet another reason to favor 6-core for now.

    I'd personally like to see an 8-core i7, even if it means lower clocks, but I don't think that'll happen until Ivy Bridge-E. At 22nm Intel probably won't have to make a choice, we'll get the best of both worlds.
  • 19 Hide
    samuelspark , November 10, 2012 7:36 PM
    So much money...
  • -7 Hide
    nebun , November 10, 2012 7:56 PM
    jaquithBoo on Intel for not enabling all 8-cores especially at that price!

    why would they....they don't need to do it at this time....amd's top cpu is still very slow when compared with even intels mid rannge cpus
  • 9 Hide
    unknown9122 , November 10, 2012 8:15 PM
    Why do people still benchmark on itunes 10.4? 10.7 is out... as for the 8 cores as said above^, there is no need to have more than 6. Because if it had 8, then xeons would not sell to pros.
  • 0 Hide
    dark_wizzie , November 10, 2012 8:17 PM
    Why are we not manually overclocking this expensive CPU? Why do we do benchmarks against stock ig 2500k?
  • 12 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 10, 2012 8:19 PM
    You also forgot something when comparing against Xeon:

    Stability test.

    Run the i7 for one month under Prime95. It will crash. Run the Xeon for one month under Prime95. If it crashes, then you got a defective Xeon because they're not suppose to crash under 24/7 workload.
  • 14 Hide
    anthonyorr , November 10, 2012 8:28 PM
    nebunwhy would they....they don't need to do it at this time....amd's top cpu is still very slow when compared with even intels mid rannge cpus


    Why would you even include the 8350? It is 1/6th the price of this CPU. I couldn't imagine what a modern AMD desktop CPU would consist of at the $1000+ price range.
  • -4 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 10, 2012 8:29 PM
    dragonsqrrlI'd personally like to see an 8-core i7, even if it means lower clocks, but I don't think that'll happen until Ivy Bridge-E. At 22nm Intel probably won't have to make a choice, we'll get the best of both worlds.


    Or set the TDP to 195W and add a warning stating that Intel's stock coolers won't be sufficient for the thermal load.
  • 15 Hide
    merikafyeah , November 10, 2012 9:47 PM
    A Bad DayYou also forgot something when comparing against Xeon:Stability test.Run the i7 for one month under Prime95. It will crash. Run the Xeon for one month under Prime95. If it crashes, then you got a defective Xeon because they're not suppose to crash under 24/7 workload.

    The i7 isn't supposed to crash under 24/7 workloads any more than a Xeon is. The footnote to this statement however has everything to do with thermal envelopes. The primary reason why Intel charges $1000 more for a Xeon is because Xeons can operate stably at higher temperatures. This is very, very important because cooling costs lots and lots of money when you need to cool hundreds of server racks and rendering farms all year round and there can't be any downtime. Ever. Because lost time equals lost money. They say every minute of downtime means a million dollars lost, so you pay extra to ensure a sudden heat wave doesn't wipe out your business. (Though some companies could certainly use better flood protection as to not rape their customers for lost profits, but I digress.)
  • -9 Hide
    nebun , November 10, 2012 9:48 PM
    anthonyorrWhy would you even include the 8350? It is 1/6th the price of this CPU. I couldn't imagine what a modern AMD desktop CPU would consist of at the $1000+ price range.

    lol....here is the answer...a lsow cpu, lol
  • 11 Hide
    apache_lives , November 10, 2012 10:28 PM
    A Bad DayYou also forgot something when comparing against Xeon:Stability test.Run the i7 for one month under Prime95. It will crash. Run the Xeon for one month under Prime95. If it crashes, then you got a defective Xeon because they're not suppose to crash under 24/7 workload.


    Not correct

    Your talking about a processor (i7) vs a platform (Xeon, since the Xeon's usually require ECC memory, server boards, usually server OS etc) -- 99.999% of the time crashes/issues are NOT processor related.

    Crashes are usually from things like non JEDEC standard spec ram, poorly written SSD firmware, bad drivers and so on - not a processors fault.
  • 5 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 10, 2012 10:32 PM
    merikafyeah(Though some companies could certainly use better flood protection as to not rape their customers for lost profits, but I digress.)


    I recall seeing a picture of a tiny server room flooded with raw sewage from a busted pipe. The management of the small business attempted to ignore the laws of physics and told the IT that there will be no shutdowns.

    I'm pretty sure there was a smell of magic smoke accompanying the sewage odor shortly afterwards.
  • 1 Hide
    clonazepam , November 10, 2012 10:51 PM
    Great article.

    "Complete Tom's Hardware Suite" Chart... ugh I hate being color blind, must concentrate harder.

    The 3DMark 11 benchmark was a "Performance" run I'm guessing. Couldn't find that anywhere.
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , November 10, 2012 11:07 PM
    A Bad DayYou also forgot something when comparing against Xeon:Stability test.Run the i7 for one month under Prime95. It will crash. Run the Xeon for one month under Prime95. If it crashes, then you got a defective Xeon because they're not suppose to crash under 24/7 workload.


    If the i7 fails, then it's no less faulty than the Xeon. They're the same chips, just with different feature sets.
  • 7 Hide
    TheBigTroll , November 10, 2012 11:21 PM
    nah. xeons are binned for lower power consumption and lower heat output compared to the i7 counterparts
  • 7 Hide
    blazorthon , November 10, 2012 11:34 PM
    TheBigTrollnah. xeons are binned for lower power consumption and lower heat output compared to the i7 counterparts


    Same chips still. Binning doesn't change what they're made of. Similar to how the Tahitis in the 7970 GHz Edition are better binned than those in the regular 7970, but they're still the same chips.
  • 6 Hide
    TheBigTroll , November 10, 2012 11:45 PM
    true. but they are different in their own way
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