by January 1, 2009 0 comments

In the previous issue, we tested and reviewed the Intel core i7 965 Extreme
processor, which was based on the new Nehalem microarchitecture, managed to
amaze us with its unbelievable performance. The significant design changes in
the processor and the new chipset started to make more sense when it destroyed
one of the best available predecessors in one test after the other. The icing on
the cake was that it consumed lesser power. So, true to Intel’s claims, it can
be safely said that the Core i7 965 Extreme is indeed the most powerful desktop
processor in production. Though it is impossible to point out a flaw, the only
issue that might work against the i7 965 is its steep price. A whooping $999! So
for this issue, we got a more modestly priced Core i7 920, another quad core CPU
of the same family at a lower clock speed of 2.66 GHz and tested its
performance. For comparison, we kept i7 920 against the same Core 2 Quad
processor that was battered by the Core i7 Extreme edition last month. The same
tests were run on the new processor and for those who missed the last month’s
battle, we’re refreshing you with scores of the i7 965.

Test bed
The bigger chip was run on the Intel Extreme DX58SO motherboard with 4GB of DDR3
RAM, Sapphire Radeon 1950 XTX graphics card and 400 GB HDD at 7200 rpm spindle
speed. A similar setup was used to run 2.66 GHz Core 2 Quad 6700 processor. In
both cases, 32 bit Windows Vista Ultimate edition was used.

1. PC Mark05: To test the processor’s performance, a set of CPU tests
were chosen. The score achieved by the older Core 2 Quad was a decent 6415, but
when the Core i7 920 was made to execute the same set of tests, its result was
much higher. It managed to achieve a score of 9279. That’s a straight 50 percent
better than the older CPU!
2. POV Ray: This benchmark software checks the system performance by
rendering images. The score achieved in this case is the render average in PPS
and the simple ‘higher the better’ rule applies. When attempted by the older
Core 2 Quad, the result achieved was a render average of 45010 PPS in a total of
4.37 seconds. The new i7 920 on the other hand surpassed it by 79137 PPS in just
2.48 seconds. Again a significant difference in performance.
3. CineBench R10: The new Core i7 920 performed brilliantly again as
compared to the older processor. While using one CPU, the score it achieved was
3214 and when using all four, it was a massive 13205. The Core 2 Quad in the
meanwhile, scored only 2163 and 6375 respectively.

Price: $284 (2 yr warranty)
Key Specs: 2.66 GHz quad core, 8 MB L3 cache, Hyperthreading, LGA 1366
Contact: Intel India, Bangalore
Tel: 28542105


SMS Buy 130193 to 56677

Similar to the Core i7 965 Extreme, the i7 920 was also tested for desktop
virtualization. Three virtual PCs were made to run Windows Vista and execute PC
Mark 05 simultaneously on them. The average score obtained by the Core i7 920
was 2218 as against 1288 obtained by Core 2 Quad. Therefore the performance of
the new CPU in terms of virtualization is also almost double.

Bottomline: The same brilliant performance as from Core i7 965 but at
a much affordable price.

How they fared


Core 2 Quad

Core i7 920

Core i7 965 Extreme
Mark 05
6415 9279 10995
45010 79137 95325

CineBench R10
6375 13205 15533

1288 2218 4255
consumption idle #
162 129 132
consumption max. #
258 237 240
# Lesser
the better.

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