Haswell-E Debuts: Intel Core i7-5960X Processor Review

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Gaming: Crysis, ET, 3DMark, & Heaven

For our next series of tests, we moved on to some more in-game benchmarking with Crysis and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. When testing processors with Crysis or ET:QW, we drop the resolution to 1024x768, and reduce all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum 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.

Low-Resolution Gaming: Crysis and ET: Quake Wars
Taking the GPU out of the Equation

We didn't expect the Core i7-5960X to put up such strong scores in our gaming tests because of its relatively low-clocks versus the Core i7-4960X and 3960X, but it clearly did. The Core i7-5960X's massive amount of available memory bandwidth and huge cache probably played a role here, which helped push the platform well ahead of everything else we tested.
Hi-Res Graphics Tests
3DMark and Unigine Heaven

Low-resolution game tests are a quick way to show what kind of throughput a processor is capable of in a gaming environment, but that's not how most gamers actually play games. Gamers like high-resolutions and maximum eye candy. With that in mind, we also ran a couple of demanding graphics/gaming-related benchmarks to see how the Core i7-5960X fared against the previous-gen Core i7-4960X, namely 3DMark and Unigine Heaven. For these tests, we popped a GeForce GTX Titan into the mix and used some beta drives from NVIDIA optimized for Haswell-E.

In 3DMark, the Core i7-5960X was ever so slightly faster than the 4960X. If you look at the individual results, you'll see that the graphics tests are right about on par with each other, with a slight edge going to the 5960X. The physics tests is where the 5960X pulled ahead by a bit, which is what helped its overall position.

Unigine Heaven told a somewhat different story. In this test, the Core i7-5960X put up a better minimum framerate, but its average was somewhat lower, likely due to the 4960X's higher clocks. As such, the Core i7-5960X trails the 4960X here.

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