Admittedly, a mere 133MHz clock bump isn't anything worth getting excited about, so anybody who already owns an i7-920 shouldn't bother upgrading to a i7-930. Those who have done still have an excellent and cutting edge product - they should be glad of the sound investment. That said, there is still a quantifiable performance difference between the two CPUs.
For example, in our Media Benchmarks
, there was a performance difference of 66-136 points between the two CPUs, resulting in overall scores of 1,674 and 1,583 from the i7-930 and i7-920 respectively.
There was an even smaller difference in games, however, with Crisis running at the same minimum and average frame rates on both CPUs. Thanks to its more complex geometry, X3: Terrain Conflict ran slightly faster on the i7-930, but only by around 2-3fps.
Both chips consume a similar amount of power, although this will vary between samples due to Intel's variable vid binning process. Naturally your mileage will also vary when overclocking due to motherboard, cooling and oc-setting use as well.
While on paper, the i7-930 is a mere 133MHz clock bump up from the i7-920, the fact that it's the same price and is slightly faster means that you'd be foolish to buy an i7-920 now (if you literally just bought one without knowing, then, sorry!).
What really sells us on the idea of the i7-930 though is it's improved overclocking
potential. While there's no guarantee that every i7-930 will overclock as well as our test sample, it's very pleasing to see how much better it overclocked than any i7-920 we've played with over the 12 months at identical voltages. Any CPU, let alone one with four physical cores, four logical cores and triple-channel memory, that can run at 4.3GHz with a standard air-cooler is great news. Given that the i7-920 itself is a great overclocker, it's really good to see Intel launching an even more overclockable CPU at the same price, and not forcing enthusiasts into buying uber-expensive Extreme Editions.
The i7-920 was a classic CPU that will almost certainly be included in the next update to the Hall of Fame
but 16 months on, it's now past its sell-by date.
The i7-930 is a worthy update and one overclocking enthusiasts should still consider. We'd love a bit of a budget refresh to the X58-ICH10R platform which we appreciate may still push people along the P55-i5-750 or even i7-860 route, but consider it a solid investment because an i7-930 will be fast for a long while yet to come and it will overclock further than an i7-920, making the performance difference between the two CPUs even greater.
Intel Core i7-930: