|Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 14 November 2011|
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AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
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.
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 3960X produces the highest scores here, massively so in the case of PhotoWorxx. Note how the improved Sandy Bridge core architecture enables the much less expensive four-core I7-2600K to turn in performance similar to the very expensive six-core 980X. It was an incredible CPU in its day, but you don't have to spend that much money to get that kind of performance now. And if you do want to spend that much money, well, that's why the 3960X exists.
AMD's "Bulldozer" FX-8150 turns in a pretty credible performance in these tests, even coming close to the 3960X's performance in the Hash test. But the new Intel CPU still wins.
Intel's Clarksdale and subsequent CPUs have dominated the AES test due to their Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI), which dramatically accelerate AES code. AMD's own implementation of AES-NI makes its first appearance in Bulldozer-based CPUs, and in the ASUS motherboard turns in performance competitive with the Intel CPUs except for the 3960X. The new CPU's performance is simply staggering, over 70% faster than the already fast 980X.
Let's move on to the PCMark Vantage benchmark.