|Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 02 January 2011|
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AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
AIDA64 Extreme Editionis the evolution of Lavalys' "Everest Ultimate Edition". Hungarian developer FinalWire acquired the rights to Everest in late November 2010, and renamed the product "AIDA64". The Everest product was discontinued and FinalWire is offering 1-year license keys to those with active Everest keys.
AIDA64 is a full 64-bit benchmark and test suite utilizing MMX, 3DNow! and SSE instruction set extensions, and will scale up to 32 processor cores. An enhanced 64-bit System Stability Test module is also available to stress the whole system to its limits. For legacy processors all benchmarks and the System Stability Test are available in 32-bit versions as well. Additionally, AIDA64 adds new hardware to its database, including 300 solid-state drives. On top of the usual ATA auto-detect information the new SSD database enables AIDA64 to display flash memory type, controller model, physical dimensions, and data transfer performance data. AIDA64 v1.00 also implements SSD-specific SMART disk health information for Indilinx, Intel, JMicron, Samsung, and SandForce controllers.
All of the benchmarks used in this test— Queen, Photoworxx, ZLib, hash, and AES— rely on basic x86 instructions, and consume very little system memory while also being aware of Hyper-Threading, multi-processors, and multi-core processors. Of all the tests in this review, AIDA64 is the one that best isolates the processor's performance from the rest of the system. While this is useful in that it more directly compares processor performance, readers should remember that virtually no "real world" programs will mirror these results.
The Queen and Photoworxx tests are synthetic benchmarks that iterate the function many times and over-exaggerate what the real-world performance would be like. The Queen benchmark focuses on the branch prediction capabilities and misprediction penalties of the CPU. It does this by finding possible solutions to the classic queen problem on a chessboard. At the same clock speed theoretically the processor with the shorter pipeline and smaller misprediction penalties will attain higher benchmark scores.
Despite its comparable clock speed and two extra cores, the AMD 1100T falls well behind the Intel processors in the Queen test. Even the slower-clocked Core i7-950 beats it, and the Core i7-2600K, especially when overclocked, dominates the results. Here we see a pattern that will be similar throughout all these tests: at stock clock speeds, the Intel DP67BG motherboard and the two ASUS motherboards return virtually identical performances, while the higher overclocks the ASUS boards can reach provide greater performance than the relatively limited overclock the DP67BG was capable of.
Like the Queen benchmark, the Photoworxx tests for penalties against pipeline architecture. The synthetic Photoworxx benchmark stresses the integer arithmetic and multiplication execution units of the CPU and also the memory subsystem. Due to the fact that this test performs high memory read/write traffic, it cannot effectively scale in situations where more than two processing threads are used, so quad-core processors with Hyper-Threading have no real advantage. The AIDIA64 Photoworxx benchmark performs the following tasks on a very large RGB image:
The Photoworxx test rankings are identical to the Queen test rankings, but the AMD 1100T drops even further behind the Intel results, which are clustered together with only a 16% difference separating the Core i7-950 from the overclocked Core i7-2600K. The overclocked 2600K results are much closer to the stock-clocked results than was the case with the Queen test.
The Zip Library test measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library. ZLib is designed as a free lossless data compression library for use on virtually any computer hardware and operating system. The ZLib data format is itself portable across platforms and has a data-independent footprint that can be reduced at some cost in compression. The AES integer benchmark measures CPU performance using AES data encryption. It utilizes Vincent Rijmen, Antoon Bosselaers and Paulo Barreto's public domain C code in ECB mode and consumes 48 MB of memory. Both of these tests are much more applicable to the "real world" than the previous tests.
In the ZLib test, the AMD 1100T surges ahead of the Intel 950, posting scores less than 10% slower than the stock-clocked 2600K. Overclocking the 2600K on the top-performance ASUS P8P67 EVO motherboard improves its score by over 36%.
The AES test isn't really a fair one: the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI) feature in the latest Intel processors dramatically accelerate AES code. Although the AMD 1100T returns a better score than the Intel 950, the stock-clocked Core i7-2600K is still 560% better. Oddly, overclocking the 2600K doesn't yield significantly better results in the AES test.
Finally, a win for the 1100T. As we've seen in our review of the AMD 1100T Black Edition, AMD processors dominate in this particular benchmark.