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Intel Core i9-7960X Review: Skylake-X At 16 Cores

Rendering, Encoding, Compression & Decompression

Web Browser

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Dropping $1000+ for exceptional Web browsing performance is overkill, no doubt. But these tests do give us an idea of how responsive each CPU is using common desktop applications.

Our results line up based on clock rate and IPC throughput, it appears, highlighting the lightly threaded nature of many productivity-oriented workloads. Of course, those tasks do tend to favor Intel's architectures, which lead in every test.


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Heavy rendering workloads are easy fodder for high-end desktop CPUs, and Intel's Core i9-7960X delivers superior performance in almost every test we throw at it (except for the single-threaded ones).

The Kaby Lake-based Core i7-7700K outpaces Intel's Core i9-7960X in both single-threaded tests due to its higher Turbo Boost frequency and improved IPC throughput. Meanwhile, the tuned -7900X and -7820X flex their higher clock rates to carve out a lead in those same metrics.

Our stock -7960X beats the chip's overclocked configuration in the short single-threaded Cinebench test by virtue of its 4.4 GHz Turbo Boost 3.0 bin, which is slightly higher than the all-core 4.3 GHz we dialed in during our tuning session. In contrast, the single-threaded POV-ray benchmark caused Intel's Core i9-7960X to shed some frequency, likely due to increased thermal load during this longer test.

Encoding & Compression

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A chart-topping core count proves beneficial to the Core i9-7960X during our HandBrake and compression/decompression workloads. But the $1700 CPU stumbles during the LAME benchmark. Intel has confirmed that its mesh architecture can lead to performance regressions in a few applications, and it appears that LAME might benefit from optimization for the new architecture.

PCMark 10

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Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.