Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Review

by Rob Williams on September 25, 2013 in Processors

Intel’s latest processor series has arrived, and we’re looking to find out if it becomes the company’s greatest. Compared to Intel’s latest mainstream part, Haswell, IV-E avails a quad-channel memory controller, a far more robust PCIe configuration, and the only place to get six-core parts. Are there other perks to be found? Let’s find out.

Multi-Media: Adobe Lightroom & dBpoweramp

Photo manipulation benchmarks are more relevant than ever given the proliferation of high-end digital photography hardware. For this benchmark, we test the system’s handling of RAW photo data using Adobe Lightroom 4.4, an excellent RAW photo editor and organizer that’s easy to use and looks fantastic. You can check out our full review of the tool here.

For our testing, we take a total of 500 RAW files spread across 250 .NEFs captured with a Nikon D80 and 250 .CR2 captured across a Canon 40D and 5D Mark II. We export all of these files to a matte-sharpened quality 90 JPEG resized to a resolution of 1000×660 – similar to a lot of photos we use here on the website. The test is timed indirectly using a stopwatch as the program doesn’t record the duration itself.

Adobe Lightroom 4.4

Intel Core i7-4770K - Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom doesn’t utilize 4+ cores as much as we’d like, but it’s clear that six-cores are definitely better than four when running batch exports.

dBpoweramp R14

You own hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of songs, all encoded to a pristine lossless format such as FLAC. Your mobile device on the other hand, supports either MP3 or AAC. What’s the solution? There are several, but the one I’ve relied on for almost ten years has been dBpoweramp. It’s both flexible and powerful, which happen to be two important factors for those who take their music seriously.

Recent versions of dBpoweramp have opened up the ability to encode more than one track at once, up to a limit of one-per-thread. With twelve-thread CPUs on the market, that ability can greatly improve overall times. For our testing here, we take 500 unique FLAC files that average about ~30MBs and encode them using the “high-quality” setting to 320Kbit/s MP3.

dBpoweramp R14

Intel Core i7-4770K - dBpoweramp

This is a perfect example of a scenario where six-core CPUs can be a boon. 50% cores in this case do in fact add up to about a 50% gain in performance. If all scenarios performed like this on six-cores, there’d never be a hesitation for a lot of people to pick them up.