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Sharky Extreme : CPU Reviews & Articles April 10, 2009





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    Intel Core i7-965 XE & Core i7-920 Review
    By Vince Freeman :  November 3, 2008

    Benchmark Analysis

    The overall performance of the Core i7 processors is very impressive in most areas, and well beyond impressive in the rest. Standard system and gaming benchmarks show the Core i7 as the top overall performer, but once you move into the multi-threading or memory benchmarks, the new Intel processors just take off and don't look back. The memory bandwidth scores are jaw-dropping, as are the multi-core benchmarks, and the video encoding times aren't exactly bad either.

    Overclocking

    While we didn't have a lot of time to spare on the overclocking side of things, we did perform some initial testing on the Core i7-965 XE. If our engineering sample mimics the retail models, then the default 3.2 GHz clock is only the starting point, and higher speeds will definitely be attainable. This is hardly a surprise when it comes to Intel processors, which seem to build overclocking headroom in as a standard feature, and we were able to hit just over 4.0 GHz with our test rig, and probably could do better with a bit more experience with the capabilities of this new platform.

    Total System Power Consumption Testing

    In order to measure power consumption, we took each of the AMD and Intel reference systems, ran the outlet through a Power Analyzer, and then compiled total system consumption figures (in Watts) for Idle and Load scenarios. In order to keep the systems and results consistent, we used the same configuration for the AMD and Intel processors as listed on the Test Systems page.

    The first test measures the total system power usage when the AMD and Intel processors are set to power-saving mode. For AMD, this means enabling Cool'n'Quiet, while for Intel we need to activate Enhanced SpeedStep. The test was performed after the operating system has loaded, and all of the various software and hardware components have initialized and we hit a consistent power reading.

    This first set of results are very promising, with the 2.66 GHz Core i7-920 placing very high on the chart, and the Core i7-965 XE showing very good consumption numbers for a 3.2 GHz quad core processor.

    The second test changes the operating conditions from Idle to Load, and the SANDRA Multimedia CPU benchmark pushes processor usage to 100%, while ensuring that no extraneous hard drive or peripheral activity artificially ramps up the power consumption rates. The results using SANDRA are also incredibly consistent, with the wattage numbers remaining stable through the entire test.

    Once we ramp up the processing load, the Core i7 processors naturally shoot down the list and now sit among the top-end quad cores. This is understandable, as no power savings mechanism can hide your true nature under full load.

    Please keep in mind that these numbers relate to total system power consumption, of which the CPU is only one part. In evaluations like this, relative placing is sometimes more important than the base numbers, which can change based on the platform and peripheral mix.


    Page 1 The Core i7 Architecture
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 PCMark05 Pro Performance
    Page 4 PCMark Vantage Performance
    Page 5 SiSoft SANDRA 2009 Performance
    Page 6 Everest Ultimate Edition Memory Performance
    Page 7 CINEBENCH 9.5/10 and WinRAR Performance
    Page 8 MPEG-2, DivX, WMV, and High-Def Video Encoding Performance
    Page 9 3DMark06 Pro, 3DMark Vantage and Crysis Performance
    Page 10 Company of Heroes, UT3, World in Conflict, & ET: Quake Wars Performance
  • Page 11 Benchmark Analysis, Overclocking and System Power Consumption
    Page 12 Value and Conclusion


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