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

Benchmark Results: Adobe CS 6

The threaded filters in our Photoshop workload take full advantage of the Xeon E5-2687W’s eight cores, allowing it to wrap up this benchmark in half the time as Intel’s Core i5-3570K. Intel’s new Core i7-3970X lags behind by 10 seconds, outperforming the Core i7-3960X by a scant one second.

Our second Photoshop test exploits the software’s OpenCL support, tapping our system’s GeForce GTX 680 to help accelerate the benchmark.

CPU performance is still a vital component, though, and we see similar scaling as some of our other well-threaded metrics. The Xeon places first, followed by the Core i7-3970X, -3960X, and -3930K. A number of Intel’s quad-core and AMD’s quad-module processors fill in the rest of the chart.

The same story applies to Premiere Pro, which favors the eight-core Xeon, but also runs very fast on the six-core LGA 2011-based chips. Although they’re great for the price, Intel’s Ivy Bridge- and AMD’s Vishera-based processors are more mainstream; they cannot keep up.

We’ve seen After Effects respond favorably to memory subsystem improvements, but it tends to scale less aggressively based on processor performance. A mere four seconds separate the first six finishers in our benchmark. There are only eight seconds between the octet of Intel products we’re testing.

  • amuffin
    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....
    Reply
  • jaquith
    Boo on Intel for not enabling all 8-cores especially at that price!
    Reply
  • tumetsu
    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."
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    Reply
  • samuelspark
    So much money...
    Reply
  • nebun
    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
    Reply
  • unknown9122
    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.
    Reply
  • dark_wizzie
    Why are we not manually overclocking this expensive CPU? Why do we do benchmarks against stock ig 2500k?
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    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.
    Reply
  • anthonyorr
    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.
    Reply