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

Benchmark Results: Productivity

Incremental steps from the Core i7-2600K to the Core i7-990X to Intel’s upcoming Core i7-3960X tell us that ABBYY is not only optimized for at least six threads, but also that it benefits from Sandy Bridge’s architectural improvements.

We know that Lame is a single-threaded metric. So, in this case, the Core i7-3960X’s 3.9 GHz maximum Turbo Boost setting is what allows it to slide past the Core i7-2600K’s 3.8 GHz ceiling.

The -990X hits 3.73 GHz, but it doesn’t include the IPC-oriented improvements to Sandy Bridge, so it trails behind more significantly than its operating frequency might indicate.

WinZip is also single-threaded. But this time the Core i7-3960X’s minor clock rate advantage doesn’t hand it the victory automatically. As we saw when we isolated clock rate in iTunes and Lame, Sandy Bridge-E does appear to give up some performance to Sandy Bridge, and that’s reflected in WinZip 14.

Swap over to a threaded app like WinRAR, though, and Core i7-3960X reasserts itself by outpacing the Core i7-990X and Core i7-2600K.

The same goes for 7-Zip, another threaded application.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • tri force
    "AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6 G...Alright, that's just mean"

    I felt really happy for a second :(
    Reply
  • xyster
    awesome! thx 4 the preview chris. i've been looking forward to this
    Reply
  • wicko
    Just bought a 2600k, and after reading this I have no regrets.
    Reply
  • for the price, the 8150 at 250 dollars will smoke intel out the water. IF you really want to go dolla per dollar , a dual socket amd opteron 6220 system will severely outperform the intel i73960 for alot cheaper. Thats 16 x 3.5 ghz turbo bulldozer cores against 6 3.3 ghz sandy bridge cores. hmm
    Reply
  • jprahman
    I was really looking forward to Sandy Bridge-E, but it looks like a mixed bag from the review. The lack of USB 3 and especially PCI-E 3 was really disappointing, especially for an enthusiast class processor and chipset. The dearth of SATA ports was pretty surprising too, everything up to this review had indicated far more.

    The extra performance you can get looks pretty nice for stuff like transcoding, but the performance in the majority of applications doesn't justify the extra cost for the i7-3960. I'd rather get a i7-2600K or i5-2500K... or wait for Bulldozer to see how it performs relative to an i5-2500k or i7-2600k.

    To be honest, this review almost comes off like an attempt to chill any interest high-end enthusiasts might have for Bulldozer.
    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    I predict a "meh" from enthusiast … And a far number of LGA1366 drivers looking for a price cut. ;-)
    Reply
  • Wamphryi
    I just got an i7 2600 K and like a previous writer commented I have no regrets either. The 2600 K is such good bang for buck and lots of people seem to be snapping them up.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    I hope Bulldozer is more interesting than this. I honestly dont see many enthusiasts investing in this - they're better off waiting for Ivy Bridge.
    Reply
  • raclimja
    what a massive disappointment, i was hoping for big performance improvement from intel


    i guess i will just stick with my i5 2500k and upgrade my aging HD 4870 x2 to something like GTX 680 or HD 7900
    Reply
  • dalauder
    You say the i7-3820 will be a tough sell, but maybe, like the i7-2600, it will be an excellent non-overclocked part for OEM machines. For that purpose, I think a machine that can run DDR3 1600MHz at without overclocking is a reasonable upgrade over the i7-2600.

    There is a market for people who want top-end gaming machines but never want to look inside other than to add more graphics. Based off of Cyberpower, IBuyPower, Alienware, etc.--I bet that market is at least as big as enthusiasts that hand pick their parts.
    Reply