Intel® Core™ i7-990X – System Set-Up and Software Used

Target Market Sectors

Primarily aimed at those in requirement of the fastest equipment on the marketplace.   Whether gamer (a whole lotta of fun for them) of the individual SoHo users.   Life in the fast lane in getting extremely fast especially when we get  down to large multitasking projects and simple day to day usage having so many windows open you do no not have to worry about CPU slow down.   In these instances though we should be ensuring that plenty of memory is available as well.    The we move to the professional sectors that have requirements for similar projects, a machine that has the grunt for large mission critical and multitasking operations, render outputs and an endless list of probabilities and possibilities.

With the arrival of the parts we took an extreme analytical look at what we perceived the possible builds with the equipment we have on hand. We have to take into account fully that these new CPU’s and Mainboards are not just only aimed at the general public but the system builder too that supports the professional arena.    Therefore one can envisage a sensational multimedia system that can be supported by either ATI’s or Nvidia’s Multimedia Cards in a standalone scenario or in Crossfire or SLI Mode.    Or, a superb Top End professional graphics workstation that fully utilises the new SATA ratification and if you really wish to be impetus, pushing the boat out, overclock the system in either of the aforementioned modes. There are now a few professional system integrator companies now providing these racked standalone solutions, though take heed, overclock the system in the professional market and you null and void your warranty.   Current system integrators suppliers are providing their own specialised warranty’s as we go to print.   So for those wishing to take the plunge and wish the system to be pushed that little bit more, it can be done.

Today’s outings though the systems will remain at stock bios settings with the only exception being the memory settings adjusted to take advantage of the newer and much faster memory.  Therefore todays system configurations will look as laid out below;


Intel® Core™ i7 990X Test Systems


1 X 3.46GHz Intel® Core™ i7 990X-Extreme Edition processor


Intel® Mainboard DX58SO2


3 X 2GB Crucial Ballistix, DDR3 Unbuffered (1333MHz)

Hard Drive(s)

1 X 256GB Crucial C300 SSD (Multimedia Set-Up)


1 X Western Digital 600GB VelociRaptor (Professional System Set-Up)

Graphic Card(s)

1 X ATI FirePro® V8800 (Professional System Set-Up)


1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 5000 (Professional System Set-Up)


1 X Nvidia Geforce® GTX580 (Multimedia Set-Up)


1 X Sapphire Technology® Radeon HD 6970 (Multimedia Set-Up)

Operating System

Windows 7 Professional  64-Bit

The mainboard bios settings were left at default and it automatically adjusted the clock speed settings and voltages to facilitate the CPU’s and Memory to maintain the higher functionality which the mainboard has to offer.

Intel EU for the supply of the 3.46GHz Intel® Core™ i7 990X-Extreme Edition processor and Intel Mainboard DX58SO2
Crucial Memory  the Crucial Ballistix, DDR3 (1333MHz) Unbuffered Non ECC Memory and 256GB Crucial C300 SSD
AMD® for the Supply of the ATI FirePro® V8800 professional graphic card
NVIDIA® for the supply of the Quadro® 5000 professional graphic card and Geforce GXT 580 Multimedia graphic card
Sapphire Technology® Radeon HD 6970 Multimedia graphic card
Western Digital® for the supply of the 600GB VelociRaptor

Systems Integrators, OEM’s and VAR’s should contact all companies directly for pricing and availability of all components.   Members of the public should contact their respective suppliers requesting the parts directly.   One main e-tailer that can supply the EU reader readily all the parts listed you should pop over to SCAN  and see what  todays best bottom dollar deal is on the main parts we have listed. 

In order to test all the parts we have broken down the results to case specific pages.  Therefore one will see result pages for the system and each of the graphics cards listed.   Each card performs differently and taking into account the generation gap in some areas it is unethical to pitch them head to head.

The plethora of benchmarks available in this arena; one could spend all day in producing results if the time permitted, paralysis by analysis!  In order to make this a factual hard hitting article we looked carefully at what the community really need  to see as timescales ran against us in providing you with more information.  Therefore we chose the following to highlight just how good the new complete architecture really is in all arenas.  In order to expedite the proceedings, all tests shown within are at their primary display default settings. 

Benchmarks and Software Used 64-bit Mode

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
SiSoftware Sandra 2011 (Latest Build)
POV-Ray for Windows v3.7 RC1 (64-bit)
PCMark 2005
3DMark Vantage
PCMark Vantage
3DMark 2011
Furmark Build 1.8.2
Unigine Heaven Benchmark Ver. 2.1
POV-ray 64-bit
Cinebench 11.5 64-bit
Bentley MicroStation
Redway Turbine Benchmark
SPECapc SM for 3ds Max 9 TM
SPECapcSM for Maya 2009
SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007™
SPECviewperf® 11.0 64-bit

Each set of tests has been applied on the clean system hard drives shown above to ensure that no residue drivers were left installed with all updates/patches applied. A test/render has been completed many times over different periods of the system uptime. Whilst maintaining the fair play rules of SPEC® HyperThreading and Turbo Boost have been enabled. Tests have been conducted in accordance with the resolutions detailed above @ 59Hz / 60Hz in 32 bit colour. Results that have been shown within this article are from the application/benchmarks first run in accordance with the SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ fair play rules. Not an average of 3 runs as some seem prudent to think that this is correct.

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