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How we tested: We used the same SSD, same GPU, same drives all running DDR3/1866 RAM on Windows 8 for our testing. For the LGA2011 testing we used an Asus Sabertooth X79 board. For LGA1155 we used an Asus P8Z77 Premium board and for LGA1150, we used an Asus Z87 Deluxe.
Cinebench 10 Single threaded performance
Since our benchmark mixes in dual, quad and hexa core parts, we wanted to gauge the performance of the new Ivy Bridge-E part so we ran the older Maxon Cinebench 10 benchmark in its single-threaded mode. Thus the differences you’re seeing here are mostly the result of the microarchitecture and clock differences between the chips, not the thread or core count. What you see matches up pretty well. The new Core i7-4960X and its Ivy Bridge cores is just about the same as the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K. The Sandy Bridge-based Core i7-3930K and Core i7-3820 also offer comparable performance to each other in single-threaded tasks. For the Haswell Haters in the room, take note of the chip’s performance in single-threaded tasks and maybe ask for some A1 Steak sauce to go with that crow.
Cinebench 10 Multi-threaded performance
Moving from single-threaded performance to multi-threaded performance using the same Maxon Cinebench 10 test of a CPU’s ability to render 3D models we see the hexa-core’s chirp up in performance. The Core i7-4960X IVB-E offers a pretty noticeable performance delta from the Haswell quad-core. Cinebench 10 is an older test using an older rendering engine so we’re not seeing the best scaling here going from quad-cores to hexa-core but there’s no doubt the Core i7-4960X adjudicates its place at the head of the class. Of course, some will question the price difference too. More on that later, but it’s probably best to move on to something a little newer such as the Cinebench 11.5 rendering engine.
The Cinebench 11.5 results help push the philosophy we’ve long believed matters: If the apps you push for a living can truly push the number of threads in a hexa-core chip, it’s well worth the investment for more cores. None of the quad-core parts can touch the hexa-core chips. The Ivy Bridge-E Core i7-4960X part outpaces the very fast Haswell by more than 35 percent. More interestingly is the choice for those already on the hexa-core bus. The Core i7-4960X offers a clear win over the older Core i7-3930K but probably not enough to justify an upgrade, even if it were the Core i7-4930K which ostensibly replaces the Core-i7 3930K chip. More on this later of course.
POV Ray 3.7
As a backup to the Maxon rendering engines, we also run POV Ray’s render which is a ray tracer. No surprise, the Core i7-4960X is again in a slide place finish while the quad-cores duke it out with Haswell, and then Ivy Bridge (LGA1155) and finally Sandy Bridge-E taking finishing. This test also made us think that maybe we shouldn’t have included the dual-core Core i3-3220 in this but it’s a good point of reference for many people.
Fritz Chess Benchmark
The Fritz Chess Benchmark judges how fast a CPU is using the Fritz 12 engine is at playing chess. It spits out different results one of is the CPU’s performance relative to a 1GHz Pentium III CPU. The test is interesting but it’s also clear it doesn’t push all the cores in the hexa-core parts.
7-Zip 9.20 Benchmark
The popular 7-Zip archiving app has a built-in benchmark. We threw 8-threads at our chips to see where the pieces would land and came up with a confusing result. The good news is for Ivy Bridge-E which is the clear winner with the Core i7-3930K also representing for the hexa-cores. What we didn’t expect, however, was the performance of the Haswell chip which barely pulls ahead of the quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K part. It’s frankly a very confusing set of results for the Haswell chip which will have to dig into at a later time or perform a restest.
PC Mark 7 Overall
PC Mark 7 is a pseudo synthetic/real-world test which attempts to simulate real-world workloads. The results we’re seeing indicate that it doesn’t seem to stress all the cores as both Sandy Bridge-E chips, the Core i7-3930K and Core-i7-3820, are virtually the same despite differences in clock and core count. Both Ivy Bridge-based chips, the Core i7-4960X and the Core i7-3770K, also pull with the same overall score despite differences in clock speed and core count again. The big winner is Haswell which has an edge against all other CPUs here by a noticeable margin. The test itself is designed to be “real world” which we’re also taking to mean not stressful apps because even the Ivy Bridge-based dual-core Core i3-3220 and its locked down clock speed of 3.2GHz gives us 80 percent the performance of the pricier chips. This shouldn’t be news to anyone though. If your chores are browsing, very light video encoding and office chores, you’d be hard pressed to see the difference between a $1,000 Extreme Edition chip and a cheapo $125 chip. Of course, you can scroll also scroll up and look at the chart that calls for more threads and see how that cheapie chip does.
PC Mark 7 Computation
The computation work load of PC Mark 7 supposedly isolates the Computation workload of a PC but the result we’re seeing doesn’t exactly agree with that as there’s not exactly much of a difference between any of the chips in our eyes. The Ivy’s and Sandy’s pretty much tie with Haswell on top, but not by much. Interestingly (or perhaps disturbingly) PCM7 seems to think a dual-core Ivy Bridge chip locked down at 3.2GHz isn’t really that much slower than entire pack. We guess this is the kick in the butt to convert over to PC Mark 8 for all of our testing finally.
HDR Soft’s Photomatix is one of the most popular apps for creating high dynamic range photography. For our test, we take a set of nine NEF images shot with a Nikon D800 and crunch them using the app’s batch mode. Lower is better and the results show the new Core i7-4960X out pacing even that fast as hell Haswell part. That’s some good news for those who prefer cores because the Core i7-3930K couldn’t defeat the Haswell chip—this despite HDR Soft use of multi-threading in Photomatix which should give the hexa-core chips the edge. To be honest, we’re not seeing the scaling we’d like to see for the hexa-cores to pay their own way. If Photomatix HDR is your primary tool, a Haswell platform probably makes a lot more fiscal sense.
Click the next page for more benchmarks that include ProShow Producer, Stich.Efx, and more.