Intel's Core i7 920, 940 & 965 processors

November 3, 2008 // 8:30 a.m.

Tags: #2 #920 #945 #965 #benchmark #comparison #core #cpu #i7 #mode #nehalem #penryn #performance #phenom #quad #result #review #smt #testing #turbo

Companies: #amd #intel

Paint.NET x64

Website: Paint.NET

This is the 64-bit version of the popular free image editing software, Paint.NET. It's not as advanced as something like Adobe Photoshop CS3 or Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, but it does serve well for most image editing tasks.

We used the PDNBench script to test the processing times for a range of images and filters. The multi-threaded software also takes advantage of multi-core processors quite effectively.

For more information on what the benchmark script entails, please see this thread on the Paint.NET forums.

Paint.NET x64 3.20

PDNBench

  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Turbo disabled, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 4.8GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Dual Channel, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Single Channel, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 940 (4x2.93GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 920 (4x2.66GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT disabled)
  • Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (4x3.2GHz, 1,600MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (4x3.2GHz, 1,600MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9650 (4x3.0GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9650 (4x3.0GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9550 (4x2.83GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9550 (4x2.83GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9450 (4x2.66GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9450 (4x2.66GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q6700 (4x2.66GHz, 1,066MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q6700 (4x2.66GHz, 1,066MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE (4x2.6GHz, 2.0GHz HTT)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9850 BE (4x2.5GHz, 2.0GHz HTT)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9750 (4x2.4GHz, 1.8GHz HTT)
  • Core 2 Duo E8500 (2x3.16GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Duo E8500 (2x3.16GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
    • 13.6
    • 14.1
    • 14.2
    • 14.2
    • 14.2
    • 15.4
    • 16.9
    • 17.5
    • 19.8
    • 19.9
    • 20.1
    • 21.1
    • 21.7
    • 22.2
    • 23.3
    • 23.6
    • 24.4
    • 24.8
    • 30.8
    • 32.1
    • 33.2
    • 37.3
    • 37.8
0
10
20
30
40
Time in Seconds (lower is better)
  • Seconds

Paint.NET loves threads and all of the SMT enabled Core i7s clearly hit the top of the table - the 2.66GHz i7 920 is even faster than the Core i7 965 with SMT disabled, which shows just how well threaded this application is. While the all-on i7 965 edges out a half second lead, there's virtually no difference between the feature selective disabled i7 965 runs - even dual and single channel memory perform the same. All the i7s outperform the previous Penryn CPUs though, and clock for clock there is between a 45 percent improvement with SMT enabled, and 13 percent with SMT disabled.

AutoMKV x264 Encoding

Website: Doom9

We tested x264 compression using AutoMKV version 0.97.1 and x264 to to compress a 1.1GB DVD VOB file into 350MB MP4 file using a two-pass encode and we used a 112kbps LAME encoder to compress the audio. The whole process is dependent on both single and multi-core performance and the entire encoding time was recorded.

There's quite a shift to using MKV or MP4 wrappers for x264 content now, especially for movie content and those in the large anime fansubbing community. x264 doesn't have the same SSE enhancements as DivX 6.8, but the benefits of extra cache and better memory performance should still show notable improvements.

x264 Encoding

AutoMKV 0.97.1, 1.05GB MPEG-2 VOB to 350MB x264 .mp4, LAME MT 112Kbps

  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Turbo disabled, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 4.8GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Dual Channel, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, Single Channel, SMT enabled)
  • Core i7 965 (4x3.2GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT disabled)
  • Core i7 940 (4x2.93GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (4x3.2GHz, 1,600MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core i7 920 (4x2.66GHz, 6.4GHz QPI, SMT enabled)
  • Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (4x3.2GHz, 1,600MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9650 (4x3.0GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9650 (4x3.0GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9550 (4x2.83GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9550 (4x2.83GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9450 (4x2.66GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Quad Q9450 (4x2.66GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q6700 (4x2.66GHz, 1,066MHz FSB, DDR2)
  • Core 2 Quad Q6700 (4x2.66GHz, 1,066MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE (4x2.6GHz, 2.0GHz HTT)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9850 BE (4x2.5GHz, 2.0GHz HTT)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9750 (4x2.4GHz, 1.8GHz HTT)
  • Core 2 Duo E8500 (2x3.16GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR3)
  • Core 2 Duo E8500 (2x3.16GHz, 1,333MHz FSB, DDR2)
    • 448
    • 462
    • 463
    • 467
    • 469
    • 472
    • 500
    • 545
    • 546
    • 553
    • 580
    • 585
    • 611
    • 616
    • 645
    • 651
    • 688
    • 692
    • 714
    • 739
    • 768
    • 882
    • 885
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
Time in Seconds (lower is better)
  • Seconds

In our x.264 encoding test, the Core i7s churn through the encoding task like rabid monsters, stretching out a clock for clock performance increase of 97 seconds, or nearly 22 percent when comparing the Core i7 965 to the QX9770.

SMT helps here, creating a 24 second or five percent performance increase. Since the test combines both single and multi-threaded encoding, disabling Turbo mode sees a 14 second drop in performance, and dropping the QPI bandwidth down adds an extra second to this. There isn't much difference between dual and single channel - just two seconds - and both are roughly 20 seconds slower than triple-channel at the same clock speed. Even the Core i7 920 at 2.66GHz performs within a second of the previous performance leading QX9770 Extreme Edition.

For around $300 between an i7 920 and Q9550, the former will be about 12 percent faster in an encode whereas the clock for clock performance of the Q9450, the Core i7 920 is 18 percent faster.
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