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

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.

  • 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