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To see how the four top contenders stack up, we’ll get into a deep dive on just how each particular CPU performed.
Cinebench 10 Single Core
Maxon’s Cinebench is based on the engine used in its Cinema 4D 3D modeling program. We use the older version to measure performance on a per core basis. As you can see, it’s a nice generational increase in performance. We don’t get a massive boost but it’s a worthwhile performance difference that likely comes from the under the hood changes to Haswell as well the higher clock speeds the chip seem to hold for far longer than Ivy Bridge.
Cinebench 10 Multi Core
As appoint of reference, here’s Cinebench 10 run across all threads available on the chips. Haswell has a very decent lead but obviously the Core i7-3930K wins. We will note that the even with the four extra threads (two physical and two logical from Hyper-Threading) the 3930K isn’t ahead as far as you would expect in something so heavily multi-threaded.
Cinebench 11.5 has been updated to support up to 64-threads and obviously the newer engine likes cores. The 6-core Core i7-3930K represents itself a bit better here and should make those who spent $550 on the chip feel a bit better.
POV Ray is a ray tracing engine that’s older than some of our readers. Like any rendering app, it’s heavily multi-threaded but look at how much the Core i7-4770K steps away from the older Sandy Bridge-E/Sandy Bridge core as well as from the Ivy Bridge part. The Core i7-3930K saves much face here and proves that six is still better than four for some tasks.
For our Handbrake run we used 0.9.9 to transcode an existing 1080P resolution MP4 file using the Android profile. The result is in seconds and lower is better. Handbrake loves threads and cores. The Haswell Core i7-4770K again opens up a decent lead over the Core I 7-3770K and Core i7-3320 parts but the 6-core Core i7-3930K steals the show with a hefty, hefty performance advantage over the three quad-core parts. Still, Haswell shows its generational advantage over the two other quad cores here with a respectable lead.
We’ve been using TechARP’s X264 HD 5.01 encoding test as a benchmark for more than a year and we’ve been pretty with it as a general indicator of encoding performance. The program performs two passes multiple times. We’ve found the first pass to be slightly more sensitive to clock speeds and memory bandwidth in the past. Here, Haswell again come out on top of all the quad cores by a decent amount. The Core i7-3930K again comes out as Charlie Sheen overall, but it also costs almost twice as much too.
TechARP X264 Pass 2
The second pass of X264 HD 5.01 has been more sensitive to the amount of threads so it’s no surprise the Core i7-3930K wins. Still, Haswell steps ahead of Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E/Sandy Bridge by a noticeable amount.
Adobe Premiere Pro CS6
Our final video encoding test uses Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 to edit and render out a 1080P video with multiple timelines using source material shot at 1080P on a Canon EOS 5D Mk II at 30 fps. It’s no surprise-Hawell steps ahead of the others by noticeable amount. We’d be OK if we had an Ivy Bridge part, but the performance of the Core i7-3820 against Haswell would make us consider popping it out for a Core i7-3930K part.
PC Mark 7
Unfortunately, PC Mark 8 wasn’t out in time for our testing but we did run the older PC Mark 7 across four chips. PC Mark 7 is a synthetic test, but it’s supposedly based on real-world workloads. Haswell is the winner again with the older Sandy Bridge-E cores including the 6-core Core i7-3930K part, bringing up the rear.
Gigapan Stitch.EFx 2.0
In casting about for some real-world, heavy duty workloads, we used Gigapan’s Stitch.EFx 2.0 to stitch together about 263 images shot with a Canon EOS 7D and GigaPan Epic Pro head to make a 1.1 billion pixel image. We like Stitch.Efx 2.0 because the app is an interesting mixture of single threaded and multi-threaded performance. The first two thirds of the process where images are aligned is single-threaded with the remaining third is where the images are actually stitched is multi-threaded. Higher clocked parts should be favored for the first portion with multi-threaded parts favored for the end. The higher clock and efficiency of Haswell gives it a pretty big win over the others. Interestingly, the Core i7-3930K’s two more cores plus two Hyper-Threaded cores just barely pull even with the Core i7-3770K.
HDRsoft’s PhotoMatrix is one of the most popular and powerful applications for creating HDR imagery. For our test, we used a nine-shot sequence shot with a Nikon D800 DSLR. The RAW files were then processed by Photomatix in batch mode using the “realistic” option. This option is heavily multi-threaded and so resource intense that HDRsoft says it’s only available as a batch mode to keep people from thinking their weak machines have locked up (our words actually.) If you look at Haswell’s performance, it easily steps away from the Ivy Bridge part and makes the elderly Sandy Bridge-E/Sandy Bridge core look positively ancient. Even the four extra threads of the Core i7-3930K can’t put it ahead of the Haswell part even though this app is heavily multi-threaded. This is a pretty big win for Haswell.
ProShow Producer 5
Our final photography-realted benchmark uses our old stand-by ProShow Producer 5 to produce and encode a 1080P video photo slide show using images shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II. ProShow tops out with four cores so it makes it a pretty good way to measure a more realistic application load as few actually exploit more than four cores today. Hawell has a pretty sizeable lift over Ivy Bridge as well both Sandy Bridge-E chips here. Interestingly, the Core i7-3930K actually outpaces the Core i7-3820 part despite its lower clock speeds. We’re not sure why but it’s possible the larger cache is a factor.
We run an overall score with 3DMark11 to show you that, well, gaming is mostly about the GPU these days. There’s no reason to even read anymore because we’re just writing this to fill space since there’s not much of a difference. Oh, we don’t get paid by the word? Doh. Move along.
The physics portion of 3DMark11 is multi-threaded and would give you an indication gaming physics. Interestingly, despite its slightly higher clocks on boost and improved core, it’s pretty much a wash with Ivy Bridge. The 6-core pull out in front, but we do really have to wonder if very many games are using all those cores.
The new 3Dmark is an interesting beast and is a bit of a changeup for us. We’ve long seen the 3DMark series as a GPU test but clearly the CPU matters a lot because look at the length of these bars man.
Oh wait, that was just a scale issue. When you actually see the whole chart, you can see the CPU’s impact on overall 3DMark scores is pretty much meh. Move along.
Valve Particle Test
Valve’s Particle test is an older test of how well a CPU will run physics in a Valve game. We’ve long suspected that the test is very cache-speed sensitive as well as very main memory latency sensitive but we’re now wondering if it doesn’t just like CPUs with very larges caches since the Core i7-3930K with its 20MB of L3 cache demolishes the others. Haswell still shows a decent improvement though.
Resident Evil 6
The Resident Evil 6 is based on the actual engine from the popular third-person shooter series. We run it at low resolutions and with image quality turned down to take the GPU out of the equation. The end result shows Haswell with a small lead over the Ivy Bridge part but really nothing to write home about.
Total War: Shogun 2
TWS2 has many options to test performance with. For this, we selected the DX9/CPU test. It’s a CPU-heavy filling a battlefield with hundreds of warriors. The result shows Haswell with a decent lead but again, nothing to write home about. The Total War series is one of the few that will use more than four cores so the Core i7-3930K actually pulls up alongside the higher-clocked Ivy Bridge CPU.
How much more bandwidth do the LGA2011 CPUs have? A ton more than the LGA1156 parts. It’s a neat synthetic to show you that, yes indeed, quad-channel is actually working. The bigger question is what exactly does that extra bandwidth get you in most of our apps? It’s apparently not helping that much.