Test Settings And Benchmarks
We began our testing with an older boxed Core i7-3770K as we waited for the FX-8350 we purchased. Relatively certain the AMD processor would hit at least 4.4 GHz without thermal issues, we started off Intel's processor at the same clock rate. Later, it became clear that our estimate was too conservative, as both CPUs exceeded 4.5 GHz at our chosen voltage levels.
Retesting at higher frequencies would have further delayed this story, so we stuck with 4.4 GHz on both the Intel and AMD chips, at least in the clock-matched portion of our benchmarking.
|Test System Configuration|
|Intel CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge): 3.5 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1155 Overclocked to 4.4 GHz at 1.25 V|
|Intel Motherboard||Asus Sabertooth Z77, BIOS 1504 (08/03/2012)|
|Intel CPU Cooler||Thermalright MUX-120 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste|
|AMD CPU||AMD FX-8350 (Vishera): 4.0 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, Socket AM3+ Overclocked to 4.4 GHz at 1.35 V|
|AMD Motherboard||Asus Sabertooth 990FX, BIOS 1604 (10/24/2012)|
|AMD CPU Cooler||Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste|
|RAM||G.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD (16 GB) DDR3-2200 CAS 9-11-9-36 1.65 V|
|Graphics||2 x MSI R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC: 1010 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5500|
|Hard Drive||Mushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Seasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8 Professional RTM x64|
|Graphics||AMD Catalyst 12.10|
Great performance and quick installation have kept Thermalright’s MUX-120 and Sunbeamtech’s Core Contact Freezer on my shelf for several years. The brackets that came with these older samples make them non-interchangeable, however.
G.Skill’s F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD has a remarkable DDR3-2200 CAS 9 rating, using Intel XMP technology for semi-automatic configuration. As a non-Intel platform, the Sabertooth 990FX configures XMP values through Asus' DOCP setting.
Seasonic’s X760 provides the consistent efficiency required to assess platform power differences.
StarCraft II doesn’t support AMD's Eyefinity technology, so I looked at the recent work of our other editors before bringing back a few classics in today’s test: Aliens vs. Predator and Metro 2033.
|Benchmark Configuration (3D Games)|
|Aliens vs. Predator||Using AvP Tool v.1.03, SSAO/Tesselation/Shadows On Test Set 1: High Textures, No AA, 4x AF Test Set 2: Very High Textures, 4x AA, 16x AF|
|Battlefield 3||Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF) Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)|
|F1 2012||Steam version, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim||Update 1.7, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-Second Fraps Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled|
|Metro 2033||Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On|