CPU Guide

Changing for the Future - Intel's Core i7

Changing for the Future - Intel's Core i7



Test Setup

Test Setup

Our review kit from Intel consisted of an Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz) processor together with the reference Intel DX58SO motherboard. The following are the other items used in the test configuration:-

  • Intel DX58SO Motherboard (Intel X58 Express chipset)
  • 3 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (7-7-7-20) @1.62V
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 9.1.0.1007 and Matrix Storage Manager 8.6.0.1007

To examine how the revived HyperThreading (SMT) performed, we tested the Core i7-965 with and without this feature enabled. We also tweaked the amount of memory used to 2GB of DDR3-1333 at the same memory timings so that it will be comparable in terms of memory size to our older test results for the Intel Core 2 Extreme CPUs and Phenom CPUs that we will be comparing the Core i7 against. This last set also examines if the additional memory controller actually has any beneficial effect to overall performance. Hence, there will be three sets of results involving the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition.

One note regarding the memory used is that we would have loved to have run them at DDR3-1600 which would have put in direct contention with the QX9770 we've last tested. However that requires a lot more voltage than currently recommended and thus we stuck with DDR3-1333 instead.

For the Intel Core 2 Extreme (QX9770 only), the setup is as follows:-

  • Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 motherboard (Intel X48 Express chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Patriot DDR3-1866@ DDR3-1600 (7-7-7-20)
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1009 and Matrix Storage Manager 7.8.0.1012

For the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 and Core 2 Duo E8500, the setup is:-

  • ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38 Express chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (CAS 7. 7-7-20)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB - with NVIDIA ForceWare 169.21
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1009 and Matrix Storage Manager 7.8.0.1012

For the AMD Phenom X4 9950, the setup is as follows:-

  • ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe Wi-Fi (AMD 790FX chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Aeneon DDR2-1066@ DDR2-800 (CAS 5-5-5-15)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks were used in this review:-

  • SYSmark 2007 Preview (Patch 3)
  • SPEC CPU2000 v1.3
  • Futuremark PCMark 2005 Pro
  • Lightwave 3D 7.5
  • 3ds Max8 (SP2)
  • Cinebench 10
  • XMpeg 5.0.3 (DivX 6.8 encoding)
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 v1.1
  • AquaMark3
  • World in Conflict v1.05
  • Crysis v1.1