Intel Core i9-7980XE And Core i9-7960X Review: Intel Attacks AMD Threadripper

Intel Core i9-7980XE And i9-7960X - Setup, SANDRA, And PCMark

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmware was up to date, then we 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 (without overclocking). The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed.

gb x299 gaming test
Intel Core X-Series Processor In the Gigabyte Aorus X299 Gaming 3

When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed all of 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 enabled Windows Quiet Hours and let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.  Also note, that to ensure AMD's SenseMI technology was performing to its full potential, the Ryzen-powered systems used Windows' High Performance mode or AMD's optimized Ryzen Balanced power profile.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head
test systems
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2017
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2017, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that partially comprise the suite with Intel's latest processors (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPUs running at their default settings, with 32GB of DDR4 RAM running in quad-channel mode Gigabyte Aorus X299-Gaming 3 motherboard.

san cpu 7980xe
Processor Arithmetic - Core i9-7980XE

san mce 7980xe
Multi-Core Efficiency - Core i9-7980XE

san mem 7980xe
Memory Bandwidth - Core i9-7980XE

san cache 7980xe
Cache and Memory - Core i9-7980XE

san cpu 7960x
Processor Arithmetic - Core i9-7960X

san mce 7960x
Multi-Core Efficiency - Core i9-7960X

san mem 7960x
Memory Bandwidth - Core i9-7960X

san cache 7960x
Cache and Memory - Core i9-7960X

The Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X put up some beastly numbers here. The Core i9-7980XE broke the 566GOPS (aggregate) mark in the arithmetic test and tickled 50GB/s in the memory bandwidth test. The two fewer cores on the Core i9-7960X brought down its arithmetic score somewhat, but its higher clocks somewhat mitigate the difference. The 7960X hit 495GOPS, with similar bandwidth numbers.

PCMark 8 v2
System Level Benchmark

PCMark 8 v2 is one of 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 -- in addition to 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 or without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ available CPU and GPU compute resources…


The tests that comprise the PCMark 8 suite are not all multi-threaded, so the higher-clocked Intel processors take the pole positions here, versus the new Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X. Even still, the deltas separating all of the high-end platforms represented here are relatively small and would be imperceptible in real-world use with typical desktop applications workloads.

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