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Core i7-3970X Extreme Review: Can It Stomp An Eight-Core Xeon?

Benchmark Results: Media Encoding

Our MainConcept benchmark isn’t as demanding as it once was; a majority of our test subjects finish the task in less than one minute. But we’re still able to see the application taxing the Xeon’s eight cores, putting it in first place. The fast six-core Core i7-3970X takes second, while the -3960X and -3930K follow, separated by one second each.

The same analysis applies to the latest version of HandBrake, which is similarly optimized for multi-core CPUs.

So much of our suite is heavily threaded. And while you can run multiple conversions in parallel to tackle multiple files simultaneously, our Lame benchmark taxes one core at a time.

Suddenly, Intel’s Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K find itself in first place, accelerated by Turbo Boost technology. But because the Core i7-3970X also enjoys a frequency bump to 4 GHz in single-threaded tasks, it outperforms the Core i5-3570K for a second-place finish.

Most glaring is the divide between Intel’s slowest chip, the Xeon, and AMD’s fastest, based on its Bulldozer architecture.

On the other hand, converting a WAV file to AAC in iTunes is a single-threaded operation. Ivy Bridge’s per-clock advantage, coupled with aggressive Turbo Boost clock rates, land the Core i7-3770K and Core i5-3570K in first and second place.

But a maximum Turbo Boost setting of 4 GHz is good enough to get the Core i7-3970X into third, ahead of Intel’s Core i5-3470 processor.