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Broadwell-E: Intel Core i7-6950X, 6900K, 6850K & 6800K Review

Desktop Productivity Results


The results you get from 7-Zip vary wildly depending on the options you use. For instance, when we compress an archive using LZMA, Intel’s Core i7-6700K actually beats the 10-core -6950X. Granted, the test takes more than 17 minutes to finish. Switching to LZMA2 enables the numbers in this chart, cutting our first-place finisher down to three and a half minutes. Although Intel’s Core i7-6700K now lands in last place, its result is just over seven minutes.

In short, pay attention to the way you’re using compression software. 7-Zip is very powerful (and free), but you’ll want to experiment a bit to get the best balance between file size, speed and your particular PC.


LAME is a single-threaded MP3 encoder we like to use to explore single-threaded performance. That helps explain why Core i7-6700K and its 4.2GHz peak Turbo Boost frequency lands in first place. The -6850K, rated for up to 3.8GHz in lightly-threaded workloads, finishes in second, followed by the flagship -6950X. We would have expected the Core i7-6900K in third, given its higher peak clock rate. However, it does trail closely in fourth place.

Notably, we monitored LAME while it was running to see if Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 pushed any of the Broadwell-E CPUs beyond their rated Turbo Boost 2.0 clock rates, but we never saw frequencies break past those specified ceilings.


This open source video transcoder is well-equipped to utilize available host processing resources. Intel’s Core i7-6950X easily snags a first-place finish, followed by both eight-core models. Three six-core CPUs take the next spots in exactly the order we’d expect. Finally, despite its modern four-core architecture and blazing 4GHz base clock rate, the Core i7-6700K only manages to tie the two-generation-old -4960X.


Blender is an open source 3D content creation suite with support for modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking. It’s hardly surprising that the 3D pipeline lends itself to parallelization, giving Intel’s 10-core Broadwell-E flagship another easy win. The -6900K finishes our BMW render benchmark in second place, followed by the other eight-core CPU in our chart, the -5960X. Two Broadwell-E-based six-core processors take the next pair of spots, while a six-core Ivy Bridge-E model surfaces second to last. The Skylake-based Core i7-6700K only wields four cores, but an IPC throughput advantages and 4GHz base clock rate help make up some of the core count deficit. It loses to the -4960X by just two seconds.


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The -6700K’s standing in these next two charts illustrates the importance of picking the right processor for the applications you run. In the same piece of software, Skylake either finishes in first or last place.

Naturally, once we start looking at the threaded numbers, Intel’s new Core i7-6950X shoots to the top. But between its Broadwell architecture and modest Turbo Boost clock rate, it only falls halfway down the chart when we switch back to single-threaded mode. The -6900 and -6850 also do a solid job of maintaining their positions in the field, regardless of workload.


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Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.