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Intel Core i7-975 Extreme And i7-950 Reviewed

Benchmark Results: Synthetics

All of our benchmarks were run on what we call our “daily use” configuration, with Turbo mode enabled and SpeedStep/C1E turned on (SpeedStep in the case of the Core 2 Extreme and Cool’n’Quiet in the case of the Phenom II).

Keep CPU-Z running alongside PCMark, and you’ll constantly see the Core i7-975 Extreme throttling down when it idles and up to 3.46 GHz when Turbo kicks in. The Core i7-965 Extreme exhibits similar behavior, as does the Core i7-920 (our retail chip). The i7 that wouldn’t kick up a notch was the 950 because we keyed in its multiplier ratio manually using the i7-975 engineering sample. It did, however, benefit from SpeedStep.

As a result, all of the i7s scale down gently, except the 950, in PCMark’s suite score. The Memories test demonstrates a more linear curve, even if the i7-975 Extreme doesn’t best its predecessor by much. TV and Movies strangely shows the i7-975 behind the i7-965. 

The i7s rule this test as well, scaling down very slightly as a result of processor performance (our GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 remains a constant throughout the testing). As expected, the GPU score remains fairly even, while the CPU score favors Intel’s newest micro-architecture.

SiSoftware’s Sandra 2009 tells the same general tale, though it’s interesting to note that the multi-media test shows the Core 2 Extreme and Phenom II delivering better integer performance than the i7-920. Of course, the Core i7’s integrated triple-channel memory controller serves up plenty of bandwidth, followed by the Phenom II’s dual-channel IMC, and finally the Core 2 Extreme’s dual-channel MCH-based controller.

  • 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