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

Intel Core i9-7980XE And i9-7960X - Physics, Gaming, And Graphics Tests

For our next series of tests with the Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X, we moved on to some game-related metrics with 3DMark, specifically the physics benchmark that's part of the Fire Strike test, along with a couple of actual games. 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: 3DMark Physics
Taking the GPU out of the Equation

3DMark's CPU physics benchmark produced some quizzical results. In this benchmark, despite having fewer cores, the Core i9-7960X took the lead and outpaced the Core i9-7980XE by a few percentage points. We suspect the Core i9-7960X's higher base and all-core boost clocks helped propel it into the lead, though mathematically that shouldn't be the case. Regardless, the Core i9-7980XE still performed well and finished on-par with the the Threadripper 1950X.

High Resolution Gaming Tests
1080P and 4K Gaming With GeForce GTX 1080

We also ran some high-resolution game and graphics tests on Intel's latest processors using 3DMark, Hitman, and Ashes Of The Singularity. We used 3DMark's Fire Strike Ultra preset, and both of the games were run with all in-game graphics options set to their maximum values, save for the Ashes 1080P test where we used the "High" preset. Note, we also swapped out the GTX 960 for a more powerful GeForce GTX 1080 here.

firestrike 1

firestrike 2
The 3DMark Fire Strike results aren't much of a surprise. This test is mostly GPU bound, so the Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X's lower clocks relative to some of the other high-end Intel processors pulls their final scores down just a tad. Still, all for of these high-end platforms perform right in the same ballpark -- less than 4% separate the highest and lowest scores here.

ashes 1080

ashes 4k

We saw some more quizzical behavior in the Ashes benchmark. Here, the Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X take the lead at 1080P, where the game is more CPU bound and the processors can flex their many-core muscle. With the resolution cranked up to 4K, however, the Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X's performance trails a number of the other platforms, including Threadripper.

hitman 1080

hitman 4k

And the exact opposite in the Hitman benchmark. With this game, the Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X's performance trailed the pack at 1080p, but with the resolution increased to 4K, they finished much closer to the top of the heap.

hitman 1080 ft

hitman 4k ft

Frame time comparisons with Hitman show the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X with more -- sometimes very significant -- unwanted spikes in frame time at 1080p. The Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7980X produced much smoother results at the lower resolution. Things were much more in-line between the three processors at 4K, however.

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