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CPU bechmark test with Intel's latest Core i7

Intel Core i7-950 reviewed

PC Games Hardware tests Intel's Core i7-950 and compares its performance to the capabilities of other processors.

Intel Core i7-950 reviewed: Introduction
In this brief review PC Games Hardware checks the capabilities of the Intel Core i7-950. The processor is based on the same quad-core design, codename Bloomfield, as the other Core i7 CPUs and thus has a 45 nanometer architecture. In contrast to the Core micro architecture those are native quad-core processors and not two combined dual-cores as it is the case in the Core 2 Quad series. The most important new features are the DDR3 memory controller that was relocated into the CPU, the eight MiByte big L3 cache, the L2 cache that has been reduced to 256 KiByte as well as the reintroduced Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) and the QPI connection that replaced the classical FSB.

With the introduction of the Core i7-950 Intel will phase out the Core i7-965 XE and the Core i7-940. The i7-950 is running at 3.06 GHz (24 x 133MHz), so Intel has increased the frequency by 133 MHz in comparison to the Core i7-940 - impressive performance benefits are not expected.

Link: Intel website

The chart below shows the most important technical specifications:
Processor Core Socket Cores Frequency Multiplier L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP Architecture Price
Core i7-950 Bloomfield LGA-1366 4 3,060 MHz 23 4 x 256 KiByte 8,192 KiByte 130 W 45 nm 485 Euro
Core i7-940 Bloomfield LGA-1366 4 2,930 MHz 22 4 x 256 KiByte 8,192 KiByte 130 W 45 nm 470 Euro
Core 2 Quad Q9650 Yorkfield LGA-775 4 3,000 MHz 9 2 x 6,144 KiByte - 95 W 45 nm 275 Euro
Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield LGA-775 4 2,830 MHz 8.5 2 x 6,144 KiByte - 95 W 45 nm 225 Euro
Phenom II X4 955 BE Deneb AM3 4 3,200 MHz 16 (open) 4 x 512 KiByte 6,144 KiByte 125 W 45 nm 205 Euro
Phenom II X4 940 BE Deneb AM2+ 4 3,000 MHz 15 (open) 4 x 512 KiByte 6,144 KiByte 125 W 45 nm 160 Euro

Core i7-950 reviewed: Benchmarks
In our test we compare the Core i7-950 to AMD's currently fastest Phenom II X4, the 955 Black Edition with 3.2 GHz as well as Intel's fastest core 2 Quad, the Q9650 with 3.0 GHz.

In Race Driver: Grid, which is rather challenging for the CPU, the Core i7-950 is able to beat the Core 2 Quad and the Phenom II X4. The same applies for World in conflict. In graphics oriented Crysis the gap between the CPUs is much smaller and the Core i7-950 is only slightly ahead of the 955 BE and the Q9650. Call of Duty 4 on the other hand delivers different results: The Core 2 Quad and the Phenom II X4 beat the Core i7-950 noticeably - possibly the small L2 cache slows the system down.

Core i7-950 reviewed: Conclusion
The Core i7-950 is - unsurprisingly - faster than the Core i7-940, but the comparatively small advantage in games compared to the Core 2 Quad Q9650 and the Phenom II X4 955 BE doesn't justify an upgrade. If you build a new system you should rather take the Core i7-920.

More CPU reviews:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 reviewed
AMD Phenom II X4 945 reviewed
Intel Core i7-975 XE reviewed

Author: Marc Sauter (Jun 17, 2009)

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