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Sandy Bridge-E: Core i7-3960X Is Fast, But Is It Any More Efficient?

Benchmark Results: Idle And Peak Power

Chris Angelini measured just under 90 W of idle power from his Sandy Bridge-E system, which was equipped with a massive 32 GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 580. The latter is the main reason for the difference in power consumption, as today’s test system centers on an AMD Radeon HD 6850. Voilá: Idle power drops to 62 W, which is the lowest result ever for a high-end multi-core system. The previous Gulftown six-core configuration requires 81 W, while AMD’s Phenom II X6 1100T (as well as the AMD FX-8150) require a bit more than 70 W.

However, peak power of the Intel system goes up to 210 W, which is almost identical to the power consumption of AMD's FX-8150, and slightly above of what we measured for the other processors with six cores. Will the Intel Core i7-3960X be able to make up for this higher power level by its much better performance, or does this impact overall efficiency to the extent that it loses to its competition? We’re about to find out.

  • fstrthnu
    Aand yet more evidence that most people looking for a high-end processor will be perfectly fine with the i5-2500K or the 2600K
    Reply
  • sam_fisher
    fstrthnuAand yet more evidence that most people looking for a high-end processor will be perfectly fine with the i5-2500K or the 2600K
    I guess it just depends on what you're doing. If you have a high end workstation and are using programs that are going to utilise all 12 threads, quad channel memory and 40 lanes of PCIe, and you need that processing power then it's probably not a bad investment. Whereas for most users the 2500K or the 2600K will do fine.
    Reply
  • benikens
    Ironically, when it comes to performance, Intel’s Core i7-9360X is the real Bulldozer. Since its power consumption levels are lower than the Gulftown-based Core i7, it should also deliver amazing performance per watt as well. Is that really the case?

    It's i7-3960x, not i7-9360x
    Reply
  • pwnorbpwnd
    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the 6850 a Barts card? Unless I am wrong but I own a 6850.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    There is a small typo on Page 9

    "Total power used drops again relative to Cor ei7-3960X's predecessor, the Core i7-980X (Gulftown)."
    Reply
  • Shape
    Ironically, when it comes to performance, Intel’s Core i7-9360X is the real Bulldozer.


    ROFL!!! Very well said!

    Nice!
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    another informative, in-depth article about efficiency. great work guys!
    3960x might very well be the $1k cpu that's worth the (over)price unlike the older 980x.
    sb-e shows that both single threaded and multi threaded performance as well as efficient power use can be ahcieved by a 32nm, 6 core, 130 tdp cpu (but you gotta pay a lot for that).
    when you bring price into the equation, quad core sb i5 and i7(95w tdp) are the best way to go (i wonder how an i7 2700k fare if it was tested alongside these cpus).
    Reply
  • agnickolov
    And I was so hoping Visual C++ had made it into the regular benchmark set. Sadly, it's missing here...
    Reply
  • giovanni86
    Looking forward to seeing what type of Air/liquid cooled Overclocks can be achieved with these newly released processors.
    Reply
  • I wanna know how it performs on DAW apps. I hope it will be included in future benchmarks.
    Reply