Intel Core i7-3970X Sandy Bridge-E CPU Review

13 thumbs up

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported frequency for the given platform. SSDs were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed.

When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, cleared temp and prefetch data, and ran the tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
Intel Core i7-3790X
(3.5GHz - Hex-Core)
Intel Core i7-3690X
(3.33GHz - Hex-Core)

Intel DX79SI (Siler)
(X79 Express Chipset)

4x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1600MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 2:
Intel Core i5-2700K
(3.3GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus P8Z68-A Pro
(Z68 Express Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1333MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 3:
Intel Core i7-990X
(3.43GHz Hex-Core)

Gigabyte EX58-UD4
(X58 Express Chipset)

3x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1333MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 4:
AMD FX-8150
(3.6GHz Eight-Core)

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1866MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64


Futuremark PCMark 7
General Application and Multimedia Performance

Futuremark's PCMark 7 is the latest version of the PCMark whole-system benchmarking suite. It has updated application performance measurements targeted for a Windows 7 environment and uses newer metrics to gauge relative performance. Below is what Futuremark says is incorporated in the base PCMark suite and the Entertainment, Creativity, and Productivity suites, the four modules we have benchmark scores for you here.
The PCMark test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance during typical desktop usage. This is the most important test since it returns the official PCMark score for the system
Storage
  • Windows Defender
  • Importing pictures
  • Gaming

Video Playback and transcoding
Graphics

  • DirectX 9

Image manipulation
Web browsing and decrypting

The Entertainment test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in entertainment scenarios using mostly application workloads. Individual tests include recording, viewing, streaming and transcoding TV shows and movies, importing, organizing and browsing new music and several gaming related workloads. If the target system is not capable of running DirectX 10 workloads then those tests are skipped. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given an Entertainment test score.

The Creativity test contains a collection of workloads to measure the system performance in typical creativity scenarios. Individual tests include viewing, editing, transcoding and storing photos and videos. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given a Creativity test score.

The Productivity test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in typical productivity scenarios. Individual workloads include loading web pages and using home office applications. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given a Productivity test score.

The Intel Core i7-3970X put up some impressive numbers in PCMark 7, outpacing the older 3960X by a few percentage points, but trailing the Core i7-3770K slightly.  This benchmark suite is sensitive to drive performance and doesn't show much scaling past four cores, so the updated Ivy Bridge architecture of the 3770K gives it a bit of an edge.

Article Index:

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Nice to hear but this one might be super expensive that ordinary people cant afford to buy :(

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the 3960X is $1049.99 on newegg... this is the 3970x...you sir, are correct.

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And what happened to Ivy Bridge-E?

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Ivy Bridge-E hasn't been released yet... ;-)

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Looks to be a pretty incredible processor. Like the others have pointed out, well beyond what I could even begin to afford for a PC.

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If you have actual use for this chip, it is a monster and worth every penny from a productivity perspective IMO. Def. not cheap, thats why we have the 3930K otherwise :)

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Great Reviews on new Intel I7 3970X. I like this. Very impressed that it can run at 4.80 GHz. plenty power for this i7 3970X.

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I would prefer my 3770k price for performance. The 3970 and x79 platform is more for bragging rights then anything else.

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When are the pecs for the haswell proccessors going to be released? i want to buy a 3970x when they do. I've been saving up and can't wait.

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I though it would smoke FX-8350 by a very large margin. But surprisingly, only about 60% faster. I'm quite impressed with AMD , albeit much higher power consumption, but hey, its 4 times cheaper.

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