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Intel Xeon E5-2600: Doing Damage With Two Eight-Core CPUs

Benchmark Results: Media/Encoding

CPU Utilization during MainConcept

Although we typically consider media encoding workloads to be ideal for showing off the benefits of multi-core processors, there’s a limit to these more desktop-oriented applications’ parallelism. MainConcept takes advantage of the physical cores on our Xeon 5500 and 5600 platforms, but still doesn’t fully tax each one. As a result, scaling isn’t particularly aggressive. Moreover, the Core i7-3960X’s improved architecture helps it out-maneuver two Xeon W5580s.

CPU Utilization during HandBrake

A similar situation transpires in HandBrake, though now the Core i7-3960X also overtakes two Xeon X5680s as well. At least for this type of task, a dual-processor workstation is pretty clearly overkill.

So why the heck would you run Lame, then? We already know this is a single-threaded test (at least when you run one instance of it). For our purposes, we’re really just demonstrating single-core per-clock performance and the impact of Turbo Boost on these flagship processors.

Core i7-3960X spins up to 3.9 GHz with a single core active. Combining the benefits of high frequency with the Sandy Bridge architecture, a first-place finish is no surprise. Xeon E5-2687W, an eight-core beast dissipating up to 150 W, runs at up to 3.8 GHz with one active core. As expected, it falls in just behind the desktop CPU. A max Turbo Boost frequency of 3.6 GHz earns the Xeon X5680 third place.