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Intel Core i7 950 & 975 Extreme Edition Review

Date: 2009-6-4

[Abstract]
   A Small Step ForwardThe past few months have seen AMD restore some semblance of competition in the mainstream and even performance enthusiast CPU segments. The Phenom II has undoubtedly been a ...

[Content] PCDigitalMobileGame

Test Setup

For the higher-end Core i7 processors (i7-975, 965 and 950), we have updated our test system from the reference Intel DX58SO motherboard to a Gigabyte X58 board. The graphics card has been changed to the newer Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (Overclocked) from the ASUS GeForce 8800 GT. Drivers remained the same, along with memory speeds and timings. This is Configuration A.

Also, like we mentioned before, our Core i7-950 scores are derived by underclocking the i7-975 to the appropriate clocks and should live up to an actual one too.

We relied on some of our older test results for the Core i7-940 and 920 in our comparisons, though we did a minor refresh of the SYSmark 2007 scores since we found some significant discrepancies between the old scores and our new results in that particular benchmark (likely a motherboard related issue). Full details are listed under Configuration B.

We'll also be throwing in one of the faster Core 2 quad-cores into the fray for reference's sake and the fastest Phenom II, the X4 955.

Intel Core i7 Testbed Configuration A
  • Processors:- Intel Core i7-975 XE, 965 XE, 950, (940 and 920 for SYSmark 2007 only)
  • Gigabyte X58 Extreme (Intel X58 Express chipset)
  • 3 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1066 (CAS 7-7-7-20)
  • 3 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (CAS 7-7-7-20) (For Core i7-975 XE and 965 XE only)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (ForceWare 178.24)
  • 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

Intel Core i7 Testbed Configuration B
  • Processors:- Intel Core i7-940 and 920
  • Intel DX58SO Motherboard (Intel X58 Express chipset)
  • 3 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1066 (CAS 7-7-7-20)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • 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

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 Testbed Configuration
  • ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38 Express chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 memory modules (CAS 7-7-7-20)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB - with NVIDIA ForceWare 169.21
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1009 and Matrix Storage Manager 7.8.0.1012

AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE Testbed Configuration
  • Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (AMD 790FX + SB750)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (7-7-7-20)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks were used in this review:-
  • BAPCo SYSmark 2007 Preview (ver 1.04)
  • SPEC CPU2000 v1.3
  • Futuremark PCMark 2005 Pro
  • Lightwave 3D 7.5
  • 3ds Max8 (SP2)
  • Cinebench 10
  • XMpeg 5.03 (DivX 6.8 encoding)
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 v1.1
  • AquaMark3
  • World in Conflict v1.05
  • Crysis v1.1




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