Workstation & HPC Performance
If you want to know more about our HPC benchmarks, check out the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU Review. We didn't just copy results from that story, though. Rather, after a number of BIOS updates and software configuration changes, we retested everything. This gives us a more up-to-date picture, reflecting improvements of up to 15% that AMD worked hard to enable.
As we dig through these results, remember that semi-professionals almost never overclock their systems. Also, CPUs like Intel’s Core i9-7900X can be hard to keep cool. Consequently, our CPUs are now running at their stock frequencies.
2D Benchmarks: DirectX & GDI/GDI+
Adding Intel’s new CPU to our AutoCAD 2D and GDI/GDI+ graphics benchmarks doesn’t yield any surprises. The newcomer falls into place exactly where you’d expect based on its clock rate.
2D Benchmarks: Adobe Creative Cloud
The outcome depends on frequency again in this next round of benchmarks.
Interestingly, the Kaby Lake-X CPU lands right behind Core i7-7700K, if only by a hair. This won’t be the last time we see this inexplicable phenomenon.
3D Benchmarks: DirectX & OpenGL
In some instances, Core i7-7740X pulls ahead of the -7700K. In others, it's beaten slightly. Either way, the performance differences are generally very small and within the measurement error range. The only discernible pattern seems to be that Kaby Lake-X leads when compute tasks run in parallel with graphics output. This means the differences could be platform-oriented.
CPU Performance: Workstation
The 3D graphics performance we just measured isn’t all that matters to professional rendering titles. Applications run many other tasks (like simulations, compute jobs, preview rendering) on the CPU simultaneously. The full picture’s only achievable by looking at both of them together.
Intel's Core i7-7740X does well in workloads that emphasize high clock rates over core count.
CPU Performance: Photorealistic Rendering
Final rendering doesn’t need a jack of all trades. Instead, efficiency and fast parallel computation are key. This is why photorealistic rendering gets its own test section.
AMD’s Ryzen CPUs do really well, while Kaby Lake-X doesn't. Hyper-Threading keeps Core i7-7740X from losing sight of the field, but we have to wonder whether it deserves a place in Intel’s high-end desktop line-up.
CPU Performance: Encoding & Compression/Decompression
The Kaby Lake-X-based processor fares reasonably well when asked to perform simple decompression. However, all of the other tasks in this category end in total defeat.
High-Performance Computing (HPC)
This final benchmark discipline spells doom for Intel’s Core i7-7740X. Its designation as a high-end desktop part suggests it should do well, but that's just not the case. With four Hyper-Threaded cores, the -7740X carves out a spot in the back of the field.
Intel’s Core i9 processors might be decent options for the workstation space, but the same cannot be said for Core i7-7740X. This is a consumer CPU that was given the wrong moniker. Despite its lower price point, the expensive X299 platform negates a lot of those savings.
Furthermore, the new Kaby Lake-X-based model doesn't really outperform the mainstream version. Core i7-7700K is positioned correctly, and its successors should have continued along those lines instead of pretending that they are something they're not. Case in point: the performance differences between -7740X and -7700K in the workstation and HPC space are even smaller than in our gaming benchmarks. So, an expensive platform doesn't get you very far.
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