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Intel Core i7-980X Extreme: Hello, Six-Core Computing

Benchmark Results: Media And Transcoding Apps

Because Apple’s popular iTunes application isn’t threaded, two extra cores do nothing for Core i7-980X here. For the most part, clock rate is going to be the principal determinant of performance—highlighted by the fact that our Core i5-750 gets Turbo Boosted ahead of the more expensive Core i7-920, which doesn’t have as aggressive of a Turbo implementation. The Core i7-980X is still fast, but not at all worth its price premium in titles that can’t take advantage of its six cores.

In contrast to iTunes, MainConcept most definitely is able to put Gulftown’s six cores to use. Even at the same clock rate, Core i7-980X sees as much gain from two additional cores as the 3.33 GHz i7-975 gets over the 2.66 GHz i7-920. In turn, the i7-920, running at 2.66 GHz, demonstrates a similar boost over the 2.66 GHz i5-750, which lacks Hyper-Threading. Now that’s what I call ideal scaling.

The Phenom II X4 965 bests Intel’s slightly more expensive Core i5-750, but it’s certainly a close match-up. The Core i7s simply outclass AMD’s best effort here.

As with MainConcept, the freely-available HandBrake heavily favors multi-core architectures. The Core i7-980X is a great way to go if you’re crunching on a lot of video work. In fact, it’s the best way to outperform Intel’s previous flagship. And given the same price point, you might as well be comparing performance to the Core i7-920 when judging value—the decision to buy an i7-980X over the i7-975 is really a no-brainer in cases like these.

We again see the Phenom II X4 and Core i5-750 neck-in-neck, which is good news for AMD, given a slightly lower price point and slightly better transcode times.

Our DivX encode sees Intel’s Core i7-980X again rising to the top, besting the company’s previous flagship by more than 30 seconds. However, the Xvid workload was never able to finish correctly on the Gulftown setup, hanging up just before the test was supposed to come to a close. According to Intel, this is due to a bug in the Xvid codec related to the way it detects cores. Remember back to the issues AMD experienced when it launched Phenom II X3? This is a remnant of that, and should be patched quickly. None of the other titles in our test suite experienced problems due to a non-power-of-two thread count.

We wouldn’t have expected much out of the i7-980X anyway, since this metric is clearly limited by clock frequency (indicated by the Phenom II’s first-place finish, followed by the 3.33 GHz Core i7-975).

  • one-shot
    shuffman37First Comment, I'll be staying up to read this review =)
    I'm guessing you didn't read this.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/toms-hardware-reviews-news-comments,9855.html
    Reply
  • tipmen
    Hm, not bad at all more cores at the same price as 975. Games don't seem to scale that much but CAD and transcoding is improved overall. Glad to see AMDs 965 hold its own in the game segment.
    Reply
  • one-shotI'm guessing you didn't read this.http://www.tomshardware.com/news/t ,9855.htmlNope, Haven't bothered looking at that. The 980x doesn't really make any difference in gaming but I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering. Does look good against the 965 x4 for mutlimedia applications.
    Reply
  • beans4you
    glad im going with the right x58! miiiight have to upgrade my cpu choice ;)
    Reply
  • tipmen
    shuffman37Nope, Haven't bothered looking at that. The 980x doesn't really make any difference in gaming but I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering. Does looks good against the 965 x4 for mutlimedia applications.

    It is a good reminder how to act on toms you should read it when you get the chance.
    Reply
  • gkay09
    Lolz...The Crysis benchmark and the Chris's starting line...Am sure he would have been forced to post that so that no one start with the infamous tag line "But can it play Crysis ?" :P
    Reply
  • gkay09
    And Chris it would be nice if you could post some benchmarks of games that are CPU taxing like the GTA IV/ FSX...Most of the games used in the above benchmarks dont tax the CPU as much as these...
    Reply
  • cangelini
    I hear you there gkay...I used to do more with GTA IV (not sure how prolific FS X still is), but it just depends on how many folks still want to see it. As a *general* rule, $1,000 CPUs aren't going to do much for your high-res gaming. However, it's a good point that there are a couple of titles notorious for hitting graphics far less than host processing power!
    Reply
  • footsoldier
    wow wow..6 cores already!! Truly is the fastest now. AMD, do keep up!!
    Reply
  • pinkfloydminnesota
    NO GTA IV? Should get great gains as it's notoriously CPU limited by the best quad cores. Unforgivable.
    Reply