Confucius once wrote “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” Today we have seen from within a marvellous array of choice, superb overclocking potential and finally a solution that will suit the needs of many a pocket looking for that all important upgrade they have been holding back on – just in time for Christmas. On the arrival of new technology of this magnitude, it is sometimes hard to sit back and gather thoughts after witnessing some pretty remarkable performances being produced. It’s not often that we are taken aback here with performance increases in hardware but today Intel most certainly have achieved this. In many areas we have seen superb uptakes in performance across the board enhancing the performance of the multimedia cards and the professional graphic cards. Simplistically put – WHOW. The “Need for Speed” has shifted into hyperdrive – overdrive is just not fast enough phrase.
The mainboard has to offer plenty of room for expansion in whichever way it is utilised; as a home gamer, SoHo Workstation. Or, and more probable within the corporate market place as a stand alone desktop unit as there is so much power within. More probable the studios, CAD/CAM and DCC market as the system shown within fully combined and once more reiterating, a sound solid fast system. Onboard Audio replay was very good producing a crisp pleasant sound back to the ear. The onboard LAN, fast and efficient as we did not encounter any problems whatsoever hooked up within our tasking units here.
Within the multimedia results, the uptakes are plain to see and within many areas better than the actual guidance figures. Obviously no overclocking has been completed as the primary objective here to show what can be achieved easily at stock. Many other sites today will have plenty of overclocked results to show off. Taking a side step here for a moment there has always been that calm air of confidence around Intel offices with new launches of this magnitude. Its easily understood why. 2nd generation CPU’s and mainboards all within easy reach of the end user no matter what they do and their budgets are. For those who can afford the top bin – you will not be disappointed at all as we uncovered within. Many analysts today will be scratching their heads – success yes Intel have yet once more contributed wholly to the community whether in the consumer place or the pro-sumer place. Notwithstanding the Tier 1 and 2 OEM’s, System Integrators and Value Added Resellers will have into place many differing SKU’s that will suit everyone.
Deviating slightly within todays outing we saw that of Akasa’s new Venom Strike Chassis and Heatsink cooler, both items produced. Starting with the chassis, this does come in two differing styles depending upon choice and the furnished position of the system. We must not forget that today’s chassis are furnishings and do have that all important part to play on an office look. The Venom chassis won’t look out of place at all. It has abundant storage capabilities in both 3 ½” and 2 ½” disc space. Therefore those thinking about a plush server chassis to make the office look good but at no cost have the thunderous roar of cooling fans, look no further. We often had to peer down to see if the system was running. The Venom Heatsink fan. Fittings for just about every conceivable socket from AMD and Intel. Easy to assemble and pop into place. However it’s significant cooling array whilst running at load was once more very difficult to hear. The temperature’s whilst at idle and under load spoke for themselves and this has to be one item right at the top of the new build shopping list. No wonder so many system integrators are making good use of this fine piece of engineering. Last but not least and most important near on silent, the “S” fan’s pushing and pulling air about without any noise. This will also be one heavily used HSF within the overclockers remit we estimate; as today we only just scratched the surface of what it can do.
Briefly covering the cooling once more, all the new CPU’s supplied out by Intel® do not come with any pre-supplied heatsink fans. The Tier 1 and 2 OEM’s, System Integrators, Value Added Resellers and finally consumers, all have their own brand of choice now as there is so many options out there now. Therefore in order to cut back in pricing and give these individuals their own choices it can be perceived as a good option as there can be huge volumes of waste from those not using the supplied stock coolers. Those wishing to purchase Intel’s stock coolers can buy them separately from resellers etc. The base MRSP pricing of a basic 2011 HSF from Intel starts at approximately $20 USD all the way up to the new Intel® Liquid Cooling High Performance solution at approximately $100 USD which is competitive to other supplies of this mode of cooling. Once more Intel has given the very one the mode of choice and freedom to make their own decisions of what is best suited for each party.
Within the graphics sectors both Multimedia and Professional cards shone. Starting first with the Multimedia tests both cards from Sapphire and Nvidia ran flawlessly on the system. The results on each page from both companies speak very clearly for themselves with the uptakes in performance and the drivers coping tremendously with the new hardware introduced from Intel. In many sectors we see very significant performance gains – which in turn means there is more to follow. What has to be taken away is that these are early drivers and more fine tuning will be completed to further enhance the overall performance seen today – which has been extremely good.
In the professional workspace we see results that have totally left us in awe. Both cards from AMD and Nvidia returning results as we have never seen before in many areas. POVRAY shaving more than a complete minute off the previous times we had achieved and to pull 1 minute and 11 seconds off the render shows how much work has gone into the overall fine tuning of both the CPU and Chipset. The initial synthetic tests showed significant marked improvements and moving onwards to both SPECviewperf and the SPECapc’ s these just left us sitting astonished. MAX and SolidWorks results have never been so fast with these two cards, they are actually faster than the bigger brothers in their respective ranges. A revisit is required soon to see just how fast the other superior cards from each company will perform. For now, these figures give the all important signal of what can be achieved. Therefore the happy PR Bunnies at both AMD and Nvidia will have much to say over the forth coming weeks.
Its crystal ball time now and with the advent of PCI Express 3 lanes now standard and showing to the achievable 8GT/s upon the X79 chipset mainboards, the mass will be asking “when are we going to see these next generation cards”. This is a very difficult question to answer though, if we look at the cyclical run of Professional and Multimedia cards then sometime in the spring could be a good starting point. It could be earlier, and again it could be later. For now we need to be patient and wait and see what AMD and Nvidia surprise us all with.
Intel has made a significant partnership with many of the software ISV’s and todays latest release’s Media and Productivity Software which take advantage of 4 or more processor threads amounts to some 53 packages. More are swiftly following suit to uptake the added value advantage of the multithreading high performance CPU and chipset. For all parties concerned this is added value and added optimal performance. Reiterating, “our need for speed”. There are of course the few who are going to take the “soapbox stance” of claiming it’s too costly, though these are but a few. The majority will be left in awe when they see the complete raw performance of the system at work. Deadlines in todays cut throat industry are extremely tight and with the co-operation of the ISV’s with Intel they all have managed to achieve the ultimate goal in making end-users work schedules so much easier to complete and comply. No more should we hear that call for more processing power – it’s here.
Finally we return for one last recount. We have just skimmed over the tip of the iceberg of what really lays underneath. Certain other timescales shifted we had to work to meet the new deadline therefore a more in-depth article will follow soon covering much more than today’s appearance. We now have both fast and affordable CPU’s, Mainboards with a whole remit of functionality which will flummox many; and significantly a whole new partnership with the ISV’s. Upgrades are easily achievable and, the “need for speed” is there now for everyone to enjoy. An exceptional piece of Pre-Christmas marketing by Intel’s public relations team. Overall Intel has surpassed itself with this technology upgrade allowing many to have what they could only read about or place on their wish lists. Sandy Bridge E is without doubt the fastest CPU on the block within this sector of CPU’s and for a reasonably priced CPU you get that superb performance we all dream about. Putting your confidence in motherboard auto-overclocking and the i7 3960X and 4GHz is easily reached. As Theodore Roosevelt said “believe you can and you’re halfway there”. For those who want more it’s all within your grasp, and yes on fresh air, without any fancy cooling arrays. To reiterate; it takes a very special kind of magic to put all this together and, we have witnessed within one of the noblest demonstrations of complete raw compute power from just one CPU.
Page 1 – 3960X Extreme Edition Introduction
Page 2 – X79 Featuring the Intel® Desktop Board DX79SI
Page 3 – Akasa’s New Venom Strike Chassis
Page 4 – Completed System Builds
Page 5 – System Set-Up and Software Used
Page 6 – CPU Heatsink Fan Cooling
Page 7 – NVIDIA® Geforce GTX 580
Page 8 – Sapphire Technology® Radeon HD 6970
Page 9 – SiSoftware Sandra 2011 (Latest Build) Part 1
Page 10 – SiSoftware Sandra 2011 (Latest Build) Part 2
Page 11 – POV-Ray for Windows v3.7 RC3 (64-bit)
Page 12 – AMD FirePro™ V7900 – Miscellaneous Professional Benchmarks
Page 13 – AMD FirePro™ V7900 – SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ Tests
Page 14 – Nvidia® Quadro® 4000 – Miscellaneous Professional Benchmarks
Page 15 – Nvidia® Quadro® 4000 – SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ Tests
Page 16 – Conclusions and Awards