Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived

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Cinebench R10 and POV-Ray

Cinebench R10 is an OpenGL 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation tool suite used by 3D animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others.  It's very demanding of system processor resources and is an excellent gauge of pure computational throughput.

Cinebench R10
3D Rendering

This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a single 3D scene and tracks the length of the entire process. The rate at which each test system was able to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below.

The new Core i7 processors were once again the fastest of all the test systems, regardless of CPU frequency.  The 2.66GHz Core i7 920 finished just behind the 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9770 in the single-threaded portion of this test, but due to the Core i7's advantages in multi-core efficiency as evidenced by SANDRA, and the addition of HT, the lower clocked Core i7 920 was able to outpace the fastest quad-core Core 2 based processor here.  Hyper-Threading also gave the Core i7 965 a performance boost here, due to the multi-threaded nature of this benchmark, and the various X58-based motherboards we tested all put up similar numbers--with a slight edge going to the ASUS board.

POV-Ray Performance
Ray Tracing

POV-Ray , or the Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer, is a top-notch open source tool for creating realistically lit 3D graphics artwork. We tested with POV-Ray's standard 'all-CPU' benchmarking tool on all of our test machines, and recorded the scores reported for each. Results are measured in pixels-per-second throughput; higher scores equate to better performance.

Update November 5, 2008: Intel informed us of a bug with POV-Ray v3.7 Beta 29 and the Core i7 that causes a threading issue on systems with 4 logical cores.  So, we re-ran the tests with POV-Ray v3.7 Beta 28 and have updated the results above.  As you can see, performance with all of the Core i7 processors is vastly increased, and they finish well ahead of the competition.


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