SYSMark 2007 Performance

Our journey starts with SYSMark 2007, the only all-encompassing performance suite in our review today. The idea here is simple: one benchmark to indicate the overall performance of your machine.

SYSMark is an example of what a mostly dual-core workload looks like. The 6-core advantage is nil, although the very large L3 cache makes up for it. In this case the Core i7 970 is just slightly slower than the quad-core 975.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Performance

To measure performance under Photoshop CS4 we turn to the Retouch Artists’ Speed Test. The test does basic photo editing; there are a couple of color space conversions, many layer creations, color curve adjustment, image and canvas size adjustment, unsharp mask, and finally a gaussian blur performed on the entire image.

The whole process is timed and thanks to the use of Intel's X25-M SSD as our test bed hard drive, performance is far more predictable than back when we used to test on mechanical disks.

Time is reported in seconds and the lower numbers mean better performance. The test is multithreaded and can hit all four cores in a quad-core machine.

We loved the 980X for Photoshop use when it launched, and the 970 is no different. Photoshop can use the extra cores, although the performance difference isn't huge it's there.

DivX 6.8.5 with Xmpeg 5.0.3

Our DivX test is the same DivX / XMpeg 5.03 test we've run for the past few years now, the 1080p source file is encoded using the unconstrained DivX profile, quality/performance is set balanced at 5 and enhanced multithreading is enabled.

Video encoding is where it's at with the 6-core Gulftown processors. The 970 is hot on the heels of the 980X.

x264 HD Video Encoding Performance

Graysky's x264 HD test uses x264 to encode a 4Mbps 720p MPEG-2 source. The focus here is on quality rather than speed, thus the benchmark uses a 2-pass encode and reports the average frame rate in each pass.

There's no replacement for core count in these heavily threaded workloads. The 970 is over 40% faster than the Core i7 975 and gives you 96% of the performance of a Core i7 980X.

Introduction & The Test 3D Rendering Performance


View All Comments

  • jlazzaro - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    agreed with throwing older (920/930) OC'd procs in the mix Reply
  • Patrick Wolf - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I don't understand why AT doesn't test games with max setings like with video cards. Doing so would be more helpful in seeing exactly what kind of CPU would actually be beneficial @ the settings most of us play at, or at least strive to play at. Reply
  • Etern205 - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    No it won't help you see which CPU will be beneficial because test a game at max setting will tax more on the GPU then the CPU.

    Also I don't see how games can show the advantage of these multicore cpus, photo imaging and encoding shows a clearer picture.
  • Patrick Wolf - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    Yeah but these tests only help people using the same GPU and game settings. Testing at GPU limited settings would show what kind of CPU you'd need before performance is affected.

    I suppose these tests show which CPU has the most raw power and getting the best peformer would be more "future proof". But it you're looking to upgrade it doesn't show if it'd even be worth it. Both kinds of tests should be included really.
  • kallogan - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I'm a cuda fan for 1080p video encoding. I'd never pay this price for a useless processor. My GTX 460 beat the shit out this i7 970 ;-) The only issue is that the Cuda x264 encoder in mediacoder allows only one pass for the moment...

    GPUs are our future !!!!
  • afkrotch - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Imagine a 980X with two GTX 460s. Can always go more and more. Reply
  • ClagMaster - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I could do better from a price/performance standpoint with the AMD 6-core processors than this i970.

    AMD Motherboards are cheaper and have much better connectivity. The price differential I could spend on better motherboards and more memory.

    I run MCNP parallel jobs and the AMD processor just takes a little longer to complete the job.
  • stephenbrooks - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    MCNP as in the neutron transport code for designing nuclear reactors? Reply
  • ClagMaster - Monday, August 2, 2010 - link

    Yes. I do NJOY too.

    What is so ridiculous about the AMD and Intel Quad and Hex core products is they are more powerful than multi-million dollar Cray XMP and YMP computers I have used 20 years ago.
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Looking at the Intel roadmap on page one is a little surprising. Are they honestly launching the new architecture in the mainstream and performance mainstream segments first? I was expecting them to launch the high-end chips first, like they did with Nehalem, and then trickle down the pricing ladder.

    If so, then great. We all won't have to wait another year for affordable Sandy Bridge systems.

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