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August 14, 2011

Intel Core i7 920

Intel Core i7 920

Although Intel Core i7 920 is the fastest processor, the i7 965 Extreme Edition earlier, there was little cause for excitmentin the market. Priced at closeto Rs. 55,000 (70), this CPU is beyond the reach of most mortals and definitely not on 99 per cent of shoppers’ lists in India. The i7 920 on the other hand, represents decent value and is the entry level Nehalem CPU, boasting of nearly the same specifications as the top-of-the-line 965 Extreme Edition.

HyperThreading

The Core i7 920 is based on the latest 45 nm fabrication process. The merits of the i7 architecture have been covered earlier, but the i7 920 feature an itegrated memory controler, an L3 cache, and HyperThreading. The core i7 920 runs at a speed of 2.66 GHz  with the L2 cache being 256kb x 4 and an 8MB shared L3 cache. In comparison, the lader of the Intel Core 2 Quad processors, the QX9770 runs at 3.2 GHz with a 6MB x 2 L2 cache and no L3 cache.

Benchmark Test

I ran these processor through a series of synthetic and real world benchmark test that stress the CPU. I used the ASUS P6T Deluxe motherboard, 3 x 1 GB of Kingstone DDR3 RAM(1066 MHz) along with the ASUS EN GTX285TOP. I have compared the outcome with the last CPU comparison test that I conducted which included the high-end Core 2 Quad processors – QX9770 and QX9650.

Results

In PC Mark 05, the i7 920 gave a CPU score of 8,741 which was not enough to beat the QX9770. In fact, the QX9650 had a better score than the i7 920. But this is  mostly due to the higher clock speeds present on the two quad core CPUs, since PC Mark05 is not multi-threaded to the extent to take advantage of HyperThreading. In 3D Mark 06 the i7 920 gave gave a great score, but again not enough to surpass the QX9770, through in this test it came very close to the QX9650. CineBench R10 is a great multi-threaded benchmark and it scales very well with the number of score, whether physical or virtual. This benchmark gave a result of 12,575 which is impressie, as it was neck and neck with the QX9770, which has a significant core speed advantage.

The i7 920 took 49 seconds to render the Chess scene in ProvRay 3.7 which is good, but again 10 seconds slower than the QX9770. In Maya 8.0 also it was much faster than the QX QX9770. I used DivX Encode and found that the i7 920 beat the QX 9770 by about 50 seconds.

Last View

While the CPU is fast, a decent overclocker and definitely future proof, remember that an upgrade to the i7 range means a change of socket to one of the Intel X58 based boards as well as expensie DDR3 memory. Integrated graphic is also absent from the X58 series, therefore an additional graphics card also needs to be accounted for. If someone want to upgrade processor and stick with same motherboard then it would be wiser to spend on the higher-end Core 2 Quad Intel processors, but anyone build a new PC and want the latest technology with future proofing in mind, I would recomended this processor, as at Rs. 14,416 (6) it represents the cheapest entry-point to the i7 architecture.

 

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