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Intel Core i7-5960X, -5930K And -5820K CPU Review: Haswell-E Rises

Synthetic Benchmarks

Our first benchmark chart is busy, so I’ll make the analysis easy. Those black bars represent graphics performance, which Futuremark deliberately biases to the GPU. Since that doesn’t change, most of the results appear similar. The red bar reflects 3DMark’s overall score. It’s affected by graphics and the rest of the platform. Any scaling seen there corresponds to larger differences in the blue bar, measuring CPU-based physics calculations.

Despite facing clock rate deficits, Intel’s eight-core processors dominate. They’re followed by the six-core chips, though Intel’s Core i7-4790K operates at high enough of a frequency to almost overtake the Core i7-5820K.

The benchmark suite we use features several OpenCL-accelerated metrics. And one observation we’ll make several times in today’s story is that a fast, heavily-threaded host processor doesn’t necessarily guarantee great results in a task emphasizing the GPU. Intel’s Core i7-4790K only features four physical cores. Yet, a blistering-fast base frequency catapults it to the top of our chart. All three Haswell-E-based processors appear near each other, but behind the Core i7-4960X.

The Fritz chess benchmark is perhaps a better indicator of parallel processing potential. Both eight-core CPUs appear out in front of the rest of the field. Four hexa-core Core i7s follow, trailed by Intel’s Haswell-refresh Core i7-4790K.

In addition to the previous three system-level synthetics, we also ran SiSoftware Sandra to better characterize different parts of each product. The Cryptography and Memory Bandwidth tests are two of my favorites.

AES-NI support allows all of these CPUs to tackle the Encryption/Decryption benchmark as fast as the memory subsystem sends instructions. Not surprisingly, the DDR4-equipped Core i7s are fastest, joined by an eight-core Ivy Bridge-EP-based Xeon E5. The Hashing routine is less consistent…unless you know what you’re looking for. CPUs employing Intel’s Haswell architecture allow for 256-bit integer operations through AVX2, and that’s where the doubling of performance comes from.

A more direct measurement of memory bandwidth aligns with each CPU’s top officially-supported data rate. In the case of the Haswell-E-based processors, that’s DDR4-2133. Xeon E5 hangs in with plenty of fast DDR3-1866, which is shared by Core i7-4960X. Dropping to Core i7-3970X pushes you to DDR3-1600, while the Core i7-4790K is at an inherent disadvantage with half as many memory channels.

  • dovah-chan
    Oh boy here we go...
    Reply
  • Merry_Blind
    Affordable 8-cores from Intel are finally coming. Awesome.
    Reply
  • B4vB5
    Chris and Igor @ TomsHW,

    Bit disappointed to not see a comparison with the Xeon E5-1650v2(or 1660v2), as the 2600 is a bit overkill comparing prices. Some of us just need a workstation with ECC ram and not just a free-for-all(ie someone else is paying) Xeon 2600 fest.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.
    Reply
  • ohim
    14063555 said:
    Affordable 8-cores from Intel are finally coming. Awesome.

    1000$ is affordable to you ? :))

    14063653 said:
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.


    Though you have a point here, the guy buying such CPUs most likely will game at above 1080p .. but this would have implied using 2 GPUs at least in the test.
    Reply
  • chiefpiggy
    Why do they call these their "5th generation" of Intel core processors if they're refreshes of the Haswell processors? I get that they have revolutionary technology within but with the release of broadwell so soon I doubt that anyone would buy these processors..
    Reply
  • envy14tpe
    I need this system to play Minecraft. with that aside, Intel finally has made a jump in i7s value and performance.
    Reply
  • therogerwilco
    Meh, looks like I'll be keepin my uber delid'd oc'd 4770k a bit longer
    Reply
  • srap
    "Single-threaded software is so last decade, though."
    I have a hunch that we will never see anything like this in the comment sections of AMD reviews. Not sure why :D
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    Yeah the real winner of a cpu here is definitely the 5820K. If I were building now, that is what I would use.
    Reply