|Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 13 November 2011|
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PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
The PassMark PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. PassMark comprises a complete suite of tests for your computer, including CPU tests, 2D and 3D graphics tests, disk tests, memory tests, and even tests to determine the speed of your system's optical drive. PassMark tests support Hyper-Threading and systems with multiple CPUs, and allow you to save benchmark results to disk (or to export them to HTML, text, GIF, and BMP formats).
Knowledgeable users can use the Advanced Testing section to alter the parameters for the disk, network, graphics, multitasking, and memory tests, and create individual, customized testing suites. But for this review I used only the built-in CPU tests, which aren't configurable. The CPU tests comprise a number of different metrics. The first three I'll look at are integer performance, floating point performance, and a benchmark that finds prime numbers.
Intel's strength has always been its integer units, and we see AMD turning in barely over half the performance of the i7-2600K. This is the single biggest factor in Intel's performance advantage over AMD. AMD's floating point performance, on the other hand, stomps all over Intel with the exception of the overclocked i7-3960X. Now if only AMD could find a benchmark that really used a lot of floating point math! AMD's FX-8150 also dominates in the Prime benchmark, again with the exception of the 3960X.
SSE stands for "Streaming SIMD Extensions", and are instructions that handle multiple chuncks of data per instruction (SIMD = Single Instruction Multiple Data). SSE instructions work on single-precision floating point data and are typically used in graphical computations. SSE was Intel's response to AMD's "3D Now", which itself was a response to Intel's MMX instructions. Don't you love competition? AMD's current implementation is actually quite good: notice how it beats the 980X? But the 3960X still easily trounces all comers in both benchmarks.
The Compress and String benchmarks are both integer-based, but the FX-8150 actually does pretty well against Intel except for the 3960X. There's no doubt: this thing's a game-changer. Now, let's move onto some more real-world applications.