by Rob Williams on June 2, 2009 in Processors
It’s been a good seven months since the launch of the original Core i7 processors, so isn’t it about time we got to see some new models? Don’t fret, as Intel has just announced their i7-950 3.06GHz mid-range and i7-975 3.33GHz high-end models. We’re taking a look at the latter today, so let’s see how it compares to its predecessor.
It goes without saying that power efficiency is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds today, and for good reason. Whether you are trying to save money or the environment – or both – it’s good to know just how much effort certain vendors are putting into their products to help them excel in this area. Both AMD and Intel have worked hard to develop efficient chips, and that’s evident with each new launch. The CPUs are getting faster, and use less power, and hopefully things will stay that way.
To help see what kind of wattage a given processor draws on average, we use a Kill-A-Watt that’s plugged into a power bar that’s in turn plugged into one of the wall sockets, with the test system plugged directly into that. The monitor and other components are plugged into the other socket and is not connected to the Kill-A-Watt. For our system specifications, please refer to our methodology page.
To test, the computer is first boot up and left to sit at idle for five minutes, at which point the current wattage is recorded if stable. To test for full CPU load, IntelBurnTest is run with maximum memory stress for a total of five minutes. During that run, the highest point the wattage reaches on the meter is captured and becomes our “Max Load”. For i7, we use eight instances of SP2004 instead of IntelBurnTest, as the latter is not yet fully compatible with the newer processors.
There are some interesting numbers here. Our i7-975 sample actually drew less power overall than the slower i7-965. It’s apparent that Intel did make some refinements, and these same refinements may be why the i7-975 is set out to top the overclocking charts.
When asked to take a look at a speed-bumped processor, it’s sometimes (alright, always) difficult to create an interesting piece of content. After all, speed bumped generally means a boost in frequency, and really, anyone with a calculator could have estimated the gains to be seen from the i7-975 over the i7-965.
It is however nice to see a follow-up i7 model or two though, as it’s been a little while since the launch. Even if the differences are minute, simply seeing a new model can help keep things fresh, and if you are willing to go high-end, then the i7-975 will certainly not disappoint.
Whether or not refinements have actually been made to the i7-975 for overclocking purposes, I’m unsure, but given that I hit 4.2GHz with absolutely minimal effort (it was my first setting, after all) leads me to believe that there was. Up to this point, the top overclock for i7 has been just under 6GHz, so we’ll have to wait and see if we’ll see new world records hit on i7 thanks to the new model.
Though we didn’t have a model on-hand, the i7-950 is an interesting beast. It should effectively replace the i7-940 entirely rather quickly, so anyone who purchases one will essentially be getting more for their money. At 3.06GHz, it really doesn’t fall behind the i7-965, which launched for $400 more just seven months ago. The i7-920 is still likely to remain the most popular model for a while though, and for good reason.
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