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Test Setup And Benchmarks

Intel Xeon E5-2600: Doing Damage With Two Eight-Core CPUs

Intel sent us one of its P4000 enclosures and an W2600CR motherboards to test with. The roomy enclosure was much more acoustically-friendly than some of the Intel workstations we've tested in the past.

Crucial's team also stepped up to help us with this story, sending over 96 GB of very hard-to-find registered DDR3-1600 memory to populate our Xeon E5 and 5500/5600 platforms. DDR3-1333 is far more common, but it's unable to push our Xeon E5s to their highest supported data rate with one module installed per channel. Although registered modules are inherently slower than unbuffered memory, we actually realized better memory bandwidth using Crucial's hardware than a 32 GB quad-channel desktop kit that stood in while we set these workstations up.

Test Hardware
2 x Intel Xeon E5-2687W (Sandy Bridge-EP) 3.1 GHz, Eight Cores, LGA 2011, 8 GT/s QPI, 20 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

2 x Intel Xeon X5680 (Westmere-EP) 3.33 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

2 x Intel Xeon W5580 (Nehalem-EP) 3.2 GHz, Four Cores, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

1 x Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Intel W2600CR (LGA 2011) Intel 5520/ICH10R, BIOS 50;53;28;112

Intel S5520SCR (LGA 1366) Intel 5520/ICH10R, BIOS 50;53;28;112

Gigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) Intel X79 Express, BIOS F9
Crucial 64 GB (8 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Registered ECC, MT36KSF1G72PZ-1G6M1HF

G.Skill 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Unbuffered, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL
Hard Drive
Intel SSDSA2BZ200G3 200 GB SATA 3 Gb/s (SSD 710)
AMD FirePro V5900
Power Supply
Intel DPS-750XB A 750 W

Chicony CPB09-003A 1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverFirePro Driver 8.911.3.1

Although we’ve seen AMD’s share of workstation CPU market grow to nearly five percent (in 2006, according to Jon Peddie Research), it’s now essentially zero. We’ve repeatedly invited AMD to participate in our workstation-oriented coverage, but it concedes that it’s no longer a player in this space.

Unlike the last time we looked at a pair of Xeon processors, AMD does have a suitable workstation chipset available in the SR5690, so we’d still very much like to see the company get more involved in courting professional customers (especially since it has all of those FirePro cards to sell them...). For now, we have four different configurations spanning three generations of Intel hardware.

Benchmarks and Settings
Audio/Video Encoding
MainConcept 2.2
Video: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2)
Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s)
Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.5
Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) Five Minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English to Video: AVC1 Audio1: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
Lame MP3Version: 3.98.3
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Adobe After Effects
Version: CS5.5
Tom's Hardware Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture frames, source video at 720p, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop
Version: CS5
Tom's Hardware Workload, Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
Adobe Premiere Pro
Version: CS5.5
Paladin Workload, Maximum Render Quality, H.264 Blu-ray profile
e-on Software Vue 8 PLE
1920x1080 landscape render, Global Illumination enabled
SolidWorks 2010
PhotoView 360
Render 01-Lighter Explode.SLDASM (
Image Output Resolution: 1920x1080, Render: Preview Quality “Good”, Final Render Quality “Best”
CFD simulation over NACA 445.6 aeroelastic test wing at Mach .5
3ds Max 2012
Version: 10 x64
Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9), Frame: 248, Resolution: 1440 x 1080
Version: 2.62
Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1, Cycles renderer and internal tile renderer (9x9)
Visual Studio 2010
Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012) with /build Release
ABBYY FineReader 10
Version: 10 Professional Build (
Read PDF, save to Doc, Source:Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Version 9.22 beta
LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Version: 4.11
RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Version: 16.0 Pro
WinZip CLI, Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP2
CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/Multimedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark, Cryptography, Cache Performance
Cinebench 11.5
CPU Test, Built-in benchmark
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