We could have made this a gaming comparison, but that would have partly ignored the rationale behind Eurocom’s quad-core notebook processor upgrade. We still wish the company would have included the dual-core chip as a reduced-cost reference point, because we still think the $700+ upsell is exorbitant.
The Racer doesn’t exactly crush the competition in single-threaded audio conversion apps, but it’s nice to see the low-power CPU edge past its high-energy rival, quantifying the advantages of Sandy Bridge over last-generation's Gulftown design.
Higher scores are bad news in our timed benchmarks, and the Core i7-990X’s two additional cores give it a big advantage in both of our video conversion tests, despite the fact that they don't leverage the superior Sandy Bridge architecture.
Adobe Photoshop, ABBYY FineReader, and 3ds Max again show why some users will always choose more cores over a better architecture. Fortunately, Sandy Bridge-E means that decision is no longer necessary, though we haven't seen Intel's server-oriented design find its way into notebooks yet. If you really need what amounts to a mobile workstation, platforms like that are available through vendors like Eurocom.
None of our compression apps, aside from 7-Zip to a very small extent, demonstrate the ability to exploit the Core i7-990X's extra cores, making up for some of the Racer's losses in the other charts on this page.