Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition Review: Intel’s Overdue Desktop 8-Core Is Here

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by Rob Williams on August 29, 2014 in Processors

In late 2011, I wagered that Intel would follow-up its i7-3960X with an eight-core model within the year. That didn’t happen. Instead, we have had to wait nearly three years since that release to finally see an eight-core Intel desktop chip become a reality. Now for the big question: Was the company’s Core i7-5960X worth the wait?

Test Systems & Benchmarking Methodologies

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our testbed specifications, but also a detailed look at how we conduct our testing.

If there is a bit of information that we’ve omitted, or you wish to offer thoughts or suggest changes, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail or post in our forums.

Test Systems

The tables below list all of the hardware we use in our current CPU-testing machines.

Intel X99 Test Machine
ProcessorIntel Core i7-5960X (Eight-core, 3.0GHz, 3.5GHz Turbo)
MotherboardASUS X99-DELUXE
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LPX 4x4GB DDR3-2666 16-16-16
GraphicsGIGABYTE GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
AudioOnboard
StorageKingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Power SupplyCorsair HX850
ChassisCorsair Obsidian 700D Full-Tower
CoolingNoctua NH-U14S Air Cooler
Et ceteraWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Intel X79 Test Machine
ProcessorIntel Core i7-4960X (Six-core, 3.6GHz, 4.0GHz Turbo)
MotherboardASUS P9X79-E WS
MemoryKingston HyperX Beast (4x8GB) – DDR3-2133 11-12-11
GraphicsGIGABYTE GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
AudioOnboard
StorageKingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
ChassisCooler Master Storm Trooper Full-Tower
CoolingThermaltake WATER3.0 Extreme Liquid Cooler
Et ceteraWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

When preparing our testbeds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:

General Guidelines

  • BIOS or EFI is up-to-date with latest version (could include a beta).
  • CPU power options are left default unless the CPU is automatically overclocked.
  • No virus scanner or firewall is installed.
  • The OS is kept clean.
  • Machine has proper airflow and the room temperature is 80°F (27°C) or less.

To aide in the goal of achieving accurate and repeatable results, we stop certain services in Windows 7 from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing inaccurate test results. For example, disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at random times utilize the hard drive and memory.

The most important services we disable are:

  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Search
  • Windows Update

To ease the tedium of setting up an OS for a round of benchmarking, we rely on Acronis True Image to restore an install that we previously setup. These images include most of our benchmarks, a minimal number of drivers (LAN, graphics), an up-to-date OS and all of our above-mentioned tweaks.

Real-World & Synthetic Benchmarks

To help us deliver a well-rounded set of test results for each processor we evaluate, we use a variety of real-world applications and synthetic benchmarks.

Intel Processor Benchmarking Test PC - Fall 2014
Wallpaper Credit: Mohsen Kamalzadeh

Our current test suite consists of:

Real-world

  • 7-zip
  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2015
  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2015 (SPECapc 3ds Max 2015)
  • Autodesk Maya 2012 (SPECapc Maya 2012)
  • Adobe Lightroom 5.6
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014
  • dBpoweramp R15
  • HandBrake 0.9.9

Synthetic

  • Cinebench R15
  • Euler3D
  • Futuremark PCMark 8
  • Futuremark 3DMark
  • POV-Ray 3.70
  • Sandra 2014 SP3

Most tests are run twice over with the results averaged. If there is an unnatural variance between the first two runs, then we continue to run the test until we receive a result we believe to be accurate.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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