As the i7-930 is intended as a direct replacement for the i7-920
the most important comparrison is between these two CPUs. To give the graphs a bit more flavour we've also included benchmark results from the fastest Core i7, the i7-975 Extreme Edition
, plus the ever-popular Core 2 Quad Q6600, Core i5-750
and AMDs fastest desktop CPU, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
Here is a list of the applications we've used for our testing - most of them are available free for public consumption, although some are popular professional software applications.
We've used Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, as this is the most flexible and reliable 64-bit OS for testing the applications above.
It's impossible to construct a set of test kit that's common across LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 and Socket AM3, but we have strived to keep as many components consistent as possible:
- ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card (Catalyst 10.1 WHQL)
- 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard disk
- PC Power & Cooling 750W PSU
Intel LGA1366 (Core i7) Hardware
LGA1156 (Core i5) Hardware
- Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 motherboard
- 4GB (2 x 2GB) Corsair XMS3-1600 memory (1,600MHz, CL9 DDR3)
- Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ
AMD Socket AM3 (Phenom II) Hardware
LGA775 (Core 2) Hardware
Testing and Overclocking
The other reason that we decided to review the i7-930 is because one of our contacts at Intel strongly hinted that despite its use of the same D0 stepping as the i7-920, it should be a much better overclocker. This makes a lot of sense, as Intel has been making Core i7s for more than a year, and will continue to make small revisions to the manufacturing process, even if these aren't enough to justify an entirely new stepping.
We started off by slinging our old D0-stepping i7-920 into our LGA1366 test rig and testing it again, as the original review used Vista rather than Windows 7, which we now use for all our product reviews.
Even with a new BIOS for our Asus P6TD Deluxe motherboard, with the vcore boosted to 1.45V, the QPI raised to 204MHz and Turbo Boost disabled, we were only able to overclock the i7-920 from 2.66GHz to 4.08GHz. This is still a great overclock, and increased performance magnificently with all the benchmark results improving accordingly.
In contrast, the i7-930, using exactly the same voltages, but with a CPU multiplier of 21x and QPI of 205MHz, was happy to run for hours on end at 4.3GHz. This is quite frankly a fantastic overclock for a standard LGA1366 Core i7, and more in the realm of what you'd expect from a far more expensive Extreme Edition. At 4.3GHz, the i7-930 returned markably better benchmark results than the overclocked i7-920.
The highest stable overclock for each CPU and the settings we used is collated in a handy Overclocking Reference table (see below).
|Overclocking reference|| || || || |
|CPU||Stock frequency||Maximum Overclock||Other Adjusted Frequencies||Adjusted Voltages|
|Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition||3.33GHz (25 x 133MHz)||4.27GHz (24 x 178MHz)||RAM: 1,427MHz||CPU: 1.45V, PLL: 1.9V, IOH: 1.34V, ICH: 1.4V|
|Intel Core i7-930||2.8GHz (21 x 133MHz)||4.3GHz (21 x 205MHz)||RAM: 1,640MHz||CPU: 1.45V, PLL: 1.9V, IOH: 1.4V, ICH: 1.4V|
|Intel Core i7-920||2.66GHz (20 x 133MHz)||4.08GHz (20 x 204MHz)||RAM: 1,640MHz||CPU: 1.45V, PLL: 1.9V, IOH: 1.4V, ICH: 1.4V|
|Intel Core i5-750||2.66GHz (20 x 133MHz)||4.15GHz (20 x 205MHz)||QPI Ratio: x32 (6.56GHz), RAM: 1,640MHz||CPU: 1.475V, PLL: 1.9V, QPI/Vtt: 1.37V, RAM: 1.66V|
|AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition||3.4GHz (17 x 200MHz)||3.99GHz (16.5 x 242MHz)||CPU-NB and HT Link: 11x (2.66GHz), RAM: 1,613MHz||CPU: 1.5V, CPU-NB: 1.35V, SB: 1.35V|
|Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600||2.4GHz (9 x 266MHz)||3.7GHz (9 x 411MHz)||RAM:822MHz||CPU: 1.55V, RAM: 1.9V|