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

3DMark Physics, Crysis, and Gaming Benchmarks

For our next series of tests, we moved on to some game-related metrics with Crysis and 3DMark, specifically the physics benchmark that's part of the Fire Strike test. When testing processors with Crysis, we drop the resolution to 1024x768, and reduce all of the in-game graphical options to their low preset values to isolate CPU and memory performance as much as possible. However, the in-game effects, which control the level of detail for the games' physics engines and particle systems, are left at their maximum values, since these actually do place a load on the CPU rather than GPU.  For the 3DMark Physics test, we simply create a custom 3DMark run consisting solely of the physics test, which is CPU dependent, and report the results...

Gaming: Crysis and 3DMark Physics
Taking the GPU out of the Equation

crysis 6950x

3dmark 6950x

As we've seen throughout much of this article, the Core i7-6950X takes the top spot in both tests. The Crysis benchmark can leverage multiple threads, and also benefits from Turbo Boost 3.0 and the additional memory bandwidth offered by Broadwell-E. What's interesting here is that the Skylake-based Core i7-6700K quad-core was able to edge out the previous gen Haswell-E Core i7-5960X, but now the tables turn to favor Broadwell-E. The 3DMark Physics test is heavily multithreaded and benefits greatly from the 6950X's additional processor cores.

High Resolution Gaming Tests
4K Gaming With GeForce GTX 1080

We also ran some high-resolution game and graphics tests on the Core i7-6950X using 3DMark, Hitman, and Thief. We used 3DMark's Fire Strike Ultra preset, and both of the games were run with a 4K resolution, with all in-game graphics options set to their maximum values. For these tests, we also swapped out the GTX 960 for the new GeForce GTX 1080.

3d high 1

3d high 2



As you can see, there's only a small difference in performance in all three tests, because they're essentially GPU bound 99% of the time. 3DMark's results may look confusing since the 6950X actually put up lower framerates than the 5960X. The 6950X's overall score is higher because of how strong it performs in the Physics benchmark.  On both of the actual games, the 6950X ends up being a tad faster overall, but the deltas are quite small.

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