Results: Real-World Productivity And Media Apps
The six-core Core i7-3970X desktop processor is faster than the mobile platforms in threaded tests. But single-threaded benchmarks leave all three CPUs mostly sitting idle. The Panther 5D's Sandy Bridge-E architecture typically comes out on top, but not by much. The Ivy Bridge-based Core i7 in Dell's M6700 comes much closer to the GT70's Core i7-4930MX than we expected. Then again, each Extreme Edition processor has the same base and maximum Turbo Boost clock rates. Small design tweaks are really all that separate them.
Our Premeire Pro CS6 test shows how quickly each CPU can encode an H.264-based 720p video file.
Given tons of cache, a clock rate advantage with all of its cores fully loaded, and a lot more thermal headroom, the six-core desktop CPU in Eurocom's Panther 5D destroys both mobile quad-core processors.
Demonstrating a difference of roughly 1%, Dell's Precision M6700 is once again very close to the speed of MSI's Dragon. This is essentially the difference between Ivy Bridge and Haswell.
As with Premiere Pro, IPC and clock rate both play a role in defining the performance seen in Photoshop. In this threaded workload, the Panther 5D is once again significantly faster than either mobile processor.
Photoshop CS6 only gives us two seconds between the Ivy Bridge- and Haswell-based mobile quad-core chips. That'd hardly be a good reason to upgrade.
The Panther 5D comes out on top once again in our well-threaded HandBrake benchmark. The -3940XM is a little further behind the Core i7-4930MX, and it’s possible that the shorter test allows the GT70's Haswell-based processor to hit a higher Turbo Boost frequency.
Moving on to Cinebench, the multi-core result reflects all four cores fully taxed, while the single-core number allows each processor to hit its maximum Turbo Boost clock rate.
A high 4.1 GHz Turbo Boost ceiling lets the MSI GT70's Core i7-4930MX to outperform everything else. It's 4% faster than the -3940XM in the M6700 and 5% faster than the Panther 5D’s i7-3970X desktop CPU, which is based on a two-generation-old architecture.
Swapping over to Cinebench’s multi-core metric, the Panther 5D puts its six cores to use and jumps far ahead. The -4930MX is fastest by virtue of its Haswell architecture, but not by much. A 4% advantage in single-core processing falls to just over 2% in the multi-core test.
Further exploring single-threaded performance, we turn our attention to the iTunes benchmark.
We see clear gains from the GT70's overclocked -4930MX. Results reflect clock rate differences and the small IPC throughput advantage of Haswell over Ivy Bridge.
The Panther 5D’s 5 idle cores do little to help it compete against the pair of mobile processors. This test is all about single-core Turbo Boost and architectural efficiency.
Single-threaded performance in the LAME audio encoding test further highlights the architectural advantage that MSI's GT70 Dragon Edition 2 holds over our comparison machines. Once again, results are right in line with the small tweaks and a slight Turbo Boost overclock.
The Panther 5D's single-threaded performance could quickly move ahead of the two mobile processors with overclocking. Its Core i7-3970X is unlocked, and the included power adapters certainly have headroom to spare. Eurocom doesn't ship its setup overclocked though, so we left the frequencies as we found them.
Productivity-oriented apps demonstrate the benefit of two additional CPU cores, a beefy shared L3 cache, and a desktop-oriented power ceiling, specifically in threaded workloads. The Panther 5D is easily faster than any notebook based on a mobile Intel processor. Being able to render 3D objects 28.5% and encode video 25% faster means that you can complete a day’s work in less than six hours instead of eight. You can then spend those two hours getting even more done. Professionals paid per project certainly understand how increased productivity can quickly cover the cost of a pricey machine like the Panther.