Benchmark Results: Productivity
Our scripted Photoshop CS4 benchmark employs a number of threaded filters, so it’s certainly no surprise to see Gulftown rise to the top. Interestingly, though, there seems to be little benefit attributable to Hyper-Threading, suggested by the Core i7-920 and Core i5-750 performing similarly.
AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 simply doesn’t perform up to par in this one, bested by the i5-750 it had previously beaten in our video encoding tests.
This is perhaps the last time you’ll see AVG in one of our processor reviews. With the move to AVG 9, performance of our quad-core contenders normalized, and it looks like a six-core Core i7-980X doesn’t help things move any faster. We’ve started some testing with Kaspersky’s security suite and are seeing better preliminary scaling, so that’ll likely be our go-to in the future.
Also well-optimized for threading, 3ds Max 2010 favors Gulftown at the same 3.33 GHz clock rate as Core i7-975 Extreme. In turn, the Core i7-975’s lofty frequency gives it a significant advantage over the Core i7-920. Hyper-Threading helps the i7 outperform Intel’s Core i5-750, which also runs at 2.66 GHz. Meanwhile, the 3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 965 trails the i5-750 by one second.
Within the Core i5 and i7 families, there isn’t a ton of variability in WinRAR. Gulftown is a bit faster than Core i7-975. But the once-flagship is most certainly not worth its price premium given the advantage over Core i7-920. The only real stand-out here is AMD’s Phenom II X4, which trails the pack by a more substantial margin.
We recently ditched WinZip after the move to version 14 saw the app still limited to single-threaded compression/decompression. Not only is 7-Zip compatible with the .zip extension, but it’s also freely available, threaded, and optimized to take advantage of Intel’s AES-NI acceleration.
Our 334MB workload, compressed using the .zip format using 256-bit encryption, most definitely goes in favor of Core i7-980X—the only processor with AES-NI support here. The other Intel CPUs fall into place behind Gulftown, scaling predictably based on clock rate and Hyper-Threading support. When it comes right down to it, the Phenom II X4 performs more like the Core i7-920 here than the more similarly-priced Core i5-750.
The speed and rating test helps explain why, exactly, Gulftown is so much faster than its competition within Intel’s own product lineup. It’s simply a stronger CPU in workloads able to exploit its on-chip execution resources.