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Intel Core i7-975 Extreme And i7-950 Reviewed

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-975 Extreme (Bloomfield) 3.33 GHz, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i7-965 Extreme (Bloomfield) 3.2 GHz, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield) 3.06 GHz, LGA 1366, 4.8 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield) 2.66 GHz, LGA 1366, 4.8 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3, Power-savings enabled
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (Yorkfield) 3.2 GHz, LGA 775, 1,600 MHz FSB, 12 MB L2, Power-savings enabled
AMD Phenom II X4 955 (Deneb) 3.2 GHz, Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, 6 MB L3, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardsAsus P6T (LGA 1366) X58/ICH10R, BIOS 0603
Intel DX48BT2 (LGA 775) X48/ICH10R, BIOS 1902
Asus M4A79T Deluxe (AM3) 790FX/SB750, BIOS 1103
MemoryCorsair 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ DDR3-1333
Corsair 6 GB (3 x 2 GB) DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ DDR3-1333
Hard DriveWestern Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300 GB 10,000 RPM SATA 3 Gb/s
GraphicsZotac GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896 MB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP 1100W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate Edition x64, Service Pack 1
DirectXDirectX 10
Platform DriverCatalyst 9.5
Intel INF Chipset Update Utility 9.1.0.1012
Graphics DriverGeForce 185.85
Benchmarks and Settings
3D Games
Stalker: Clear SkyQuality settings set to high, 1920x1200/1680x1050, Benchmark tool, average of all four scenarios
Far Cry 2Quality settings set to high, 1920x1200/1680x1050, latest Steam version, in-game benchmark (Ranch medium).
Left 4 DeadQuality settings set to max, 1920x1200/1680x1050, latest Steam version, timed demo.
H.A.W.X.High Quality Setting, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200, DirectX 10, Ambient Occlusion: High, Patch 1.2
Grand Theft Auto 4Quality settings set to high, Anisotropic filtering: "High," 1920x1200/1680x1050, Patch 1.3, Built-in benchmark.
Audio Encoding
iTunesVersion: 8.1.0.52, Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 (64-bit), Audio CD ""Terminator II" SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s
Video Encoding
TMPEG 4.6Version: 4.5.1.254, Import File: "Terminator II" SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-Threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.1Display encoding status=off
Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Applications
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 (64-bit)Version: 2009, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
WinRAR 3.90 Beta 1Version 3.90 Beta 1, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark
  • smithereen
    I've never seen anyone saying that the Phenom II is faster than any Core i7...
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    Doesn't make any difference with games
    Reply
  • cangelini
    The i7's disadvantage in Far Cry 2 is well-known. That it gets beat in HAWX is something we only discovered this time around. In everything else, it's the faster CPU.
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    Are we going to see a price reduction in the 940 or the 965 that gives me any reason to purchase them over the 920?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Not enough to warrant spending an extra $200 or more, in my opinion.
    Reply
  • burnley14
    Good thing I didn't shell out for the 965 yesterday.

    Oh wait, I don't have unlimited cash, so I won't be shelling out for the 975 any time soon either . . .
    Reply
  • Dustpuppy
    Those game results look like you ran into serious GPU limits. As a result I think you may have been showing a difference in motherboards rather than processors on some of those tests. That does make it an interesting result in other ways though. It looks like the i7 boards have room to mature a little bit more relative to the older tech.
    Reply
  • Summer Leigh Castle
    Who said that AMD holds the crown in performance? I think any half witted enthusiast who hasn't been hiding underneath a rock for the past year knows that the i7 (and even the core 2 duo in some test) is king. I would hope that people who visit tomshardware or rather any tech website knows that in terms of highend power, AMD doesn't come close to Intel at all.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    DustpuppyThose game results look like you ran into serious GPU limits. As a result I think you may have been showing a difference in motherboards rather than processors on some of those tests. That does make it an interesting result in other ways though. It looks like the i7 boards have room to mature a little bit more relative to the older tech.
    Likely, yes. If you look back to this doozy of a benchmark-fest, you'll see it isn't under you add a second or third GTX 280 that i7 starts putting on some distance. Up until then, though, it's worth noting that the other two platforms (Core 2 and Phenom) are actually faster!
    Reply
  • doomtomb
    Really, any of the i7 processors besides the 920 seems like a waste because of the marginal performance increases for exponential price hikes. I was especially alarmed by the DDR3 memory results. There is the synthetic benchmark advantage of higher bandwidth at higher speeds but absolutely no difference across the board ranging from 1066 to 2133 in real world encoding or what not.

    Pretty absurd, I think I'd just stick with the 920 @ 3.8GHz and some affordable DDR3 1600MHz memory.
    Reply