I typically think of 7-Zip as our best-threaded file compression benchmark. However, the fact that two Xeon E5-2687Ws finish first suggest that something else is limiting performance. All else being equal, we’d expect the Ivy Bridge-based version to win—it runs at higher clock rates, has more cache, and offers additional memory bandwidth.
In any case, the dual-processor workstations are at least notably quicker than one Core i7-4960X.
WinRAR is better known for favoring architectural tweaks that improve efficiency per clock cycle. Not surprisingly, the two Ivy Bridge-based CPUs finish in the lead, ahead of two Sandy Bridge-EP-based processors.
Our WinZip chart includes three separate benchmarks, and the very latest from Intel makes them difficult to interpret.
Let’s start with the longest bar, corresponding to the EZ test. This represents maximum compression. Our Core i7 and dual Sandy Bridge-EP-based Xeons score similarly. Meanwhile, the -2687W v2 crushes this test. We actually saw the same thing in Intel's 12-Core Xeon With 30 MB Of L3: The New Mac Pro's CPU?, and the benchmark is consistent.
Then there’s the general CPU benchmark, which is well-threaded in WinZip 18.0, and appears to reward both dual-processor workstations compared to the Core i7.
Finally, we have the OpenCL-accelerated test, which does run faster on the Core i7, but slows down on the dual-socket systems versus CPU-only processing. Even those slower results remain faster than the Core i7’s finish, though. Here’s my stab at an explanation: WinZip only offloads files larger than 8 MB to the graphics card for compression. Because our workload is a blend of file sizes, the OpenCL-accelerated files slow down the 16-core setups. Meanwhile the six-core -4960X does enjoy some speed-up from Nvidia’s Quadro FX 1800. Ultimately, though, the well-threaded compression engine still runs everything else through the Xeons faster.