Intel Core i7 Performance Preview

by Rob Williams on November 3, 2008 in Processors

With Core i7’s launch due in just a few weeks, there’s no better time than right now to take a hard look at its performance, which is what we’re taking care of today. In addition to our usual performance comparisons with last-gen CPUs, we’re also taking an in-depth look at both QPI and HyperThreading performance, and some of our results may surprise you.

Multi-Media: ProShow Gold, Sandra Multi-Media

While TMPGEnc XPress’ purpose is to convert video formats, ProShow from Photodex helps turn your collection of photos into a fantastic looking slide show. I can’t call myself a slide show buff, but this tool is unquestionably definitive. It offers many editing abilities and the ability to export in a variety of formats, including a standard video file, DVD video and even HD video.

Like TMPGEnc and many other video encoders, ProShow can take full advantage of a multi-core processor. It doesn’t support SSE4 however, but hopefully will in the future as it would improve encoding times considerably. Still, when a slide show application handles a multi-core processor effectively, it has to make you wonder why there is such a delay in seeing a wider-range of such applications on the marketplace.

Up to now, we’ve seen increases in performance with Core i7 in every-single test we’ve conducted, but exactly what kind of increases in performance you’ll find seem to be completely random and hard to target. For example, on the last page, we tackled a mobile encode with TMPGEnc Xpress, which had a measly 7% increase in performance, but here, our DVD recode saw much larger increases of ~24%.

Like our TMPGEnc Xpress test though, it’s the HD video encode where the benefits of Core i7 begin to shine. Compare once again our 3.20GHz processors to each other. The Extreme 965 performed the encode job 38.9% faster, while where the 2.66GHz chips are concerned, the 920 saw a boost of 41.0%.

Sandra 2009 Multi-Media

To help show a more “raw” version of the kind of potential Nehalem offers, we ran the Multi-Media test built into Sandra. This test here stresses the CPU’s ability to handle multi-media instructions and data, using both MMX and SSE2/3/4 as the instruction sets of choice. The results are divided by integer, floating point and double precision, three specific numbering formats used commonly in multi-media work.

The domination continues here, with overall performance increases ranging between 15 – 35%.

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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