Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived

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LAME MT and Kribibench

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content.  LAME is an open-source mid to high bit-rate and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 audio encoder that is used widely around the world in a multitude of third party applications.

Audio Encoding

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenically-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

The new Core i7 processors were the fastest of the bunch according to our custom LAME MT benchmarks.  Clock for the clock, the Core i7 Extreme 965 was 4 and 5 seconds faster than the Core 2 Extreme QX9700 in the multi- and single-threaded tests, respectively.  The 2.66GHz Core i7 920 performed even better than the similarly clocked Core 2 Quad Q9400, beating the Q9400 by 5 and 9 seconds.

Kribibench v1.1
CPU-Bound 3D Rendering

For this next batch of tests, we ran Kribibench v1.1, a 3D rendering benchmark produced by the folks at Adept Development.  Kribibench is an SSE aware software renderer where a 3D model is rendered and animated by the host CPU and the average frame rate is reported.  We used two of the included models with this benchmark: a "Sponge Explode" model consisting of over 19.2 million polygons and the test suite's "Ultra" model which is comprised of over 16 billion polys.

Intel's new Core i7 processors--regardless of their clock speed--were also the fastest of the bunch in the Kribibench rendering tests.  The 2.66GHz Core i7 920 was able to outperform the 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9770, and the flagship Core i7 Extreme 965 finished way out in front.  Hyper-Threading also gave the new Core i7 processors a speed boost in this multi-threaded benchmark, to the tune of about 24%.

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