Intel Core i7-6950X 10-Core CPU Review: Broadwell-E Takes Flight

Test Setup, SANDRA, and PCMark 8 v2

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 speed for the given platform. The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed.

gskill broadwell e ram 4
The Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition Installed In The MSI X99A Gaming Pro Motherboard

When the Windows installation was complete, we fully 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, and cleared any temp and prefetch data. Finally, we let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.

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

System 1:
Intel Core i7-6950X
(3GHz+ - Deca-Core)

Intel Core i7-5690X
(3GHz+ - Octo-Core)

MSI X99A Gaming Pro
(X99 Chipset)

(@ 2133MHz / 2400MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 2:
Intel Core i7-6700K 
(4GHz+ - Quad-Core)

Asus Z170 Deluxe
(Z170 Express Chipset)

4x4GB Corsair DDR4 
(@ 2133MHz)

IPG or GeForce GTX 960 
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 3:
AMD A10-7890K
(4.1GHz+ Hex-Core)

Asus A88X Pro
(A88 Chipset)

2x8GB Radeon DDR3 
(@ 2133MHz)

Radeon R7 IGP
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 4:
AMD FX-8370 
(4GHz+ Octo-Core)

AMD FX-9590 
(4.7GHz+ Octo-Core) 

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB Radeon DDR3 
(@ 2133MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2016
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2016, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the suite with Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPU running at its default settings, with Turbo Boost 3.0 technology enabled, and with 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM running in quad-channel mode on the MSI X99A Gaming Pro X99-based motherboard.

san CPU
Processor Arithmetic

san mm
Processor Multimedia

san mem
Memory Bandwidth

san cache
Cache and Memory

The new Intel Core i7-6950X led the pack in the various SiSoft SANDRA benchmark modules we ran. In the processor arithmetic test, the CPU put up an aggregate score of over 288 GOPS. And in the multi-media test it managed an impressive aggregate score of 858.62MPix/s. The memory bandwidth showed the platform offering up over 40GB/s of total bandwidth.  And despite the relatively loose timings of DDR4 memory available for the platform, cache and memory latency looks pretty good. The 6950X looked especially good in the 256K - 4MB data set range.

PCMark 8 v2
System Level Benchmark

PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing—to help consumers find devices that offers the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.

This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments. These tests can be run with our without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ available CPU and GPU compute resources…

pcmark 6950x

Despite its lower frequencies in comparison to the Skylake-based 6700K, the Core i7-6950X put up the best scores in PCMark. The combination of additional cores helps it in the multi-threaded portions of the benchmark, especially in video encoding, and Turbo Boost 3.0 optimizes single-thread performance.

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