With any system you will want to see a combination of synthetic testing and real-world. Synthetics give you a static, easily repeatable testing method that can be compared across multiple platforms. For our synthetic tests we use Everest Ultimate, Sisoft Sandra, FutureMark's 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage, Cinebench as well as HyperPi. Each of these covers a different aspect of performance or a different angle of a certain type of performance.
CPU Raw Performance
For CPU Raw Performance we want to look at the theoretical performance numbers. This means how many GigaFlops you can get, how many megapixels etc. We also test for memory bandwidth. As memory controllers are moved onto the CPU and away from the Northbridge we see memory performance increasing, but also becoming much more CPU dependent than mainboard dependent.
To test memory and Raw CPU performance we use a combination of Sisoft Sandra and HyperPi 0.99.
I am sure you can see by the scores above that the Core i7 980X is simply king of the hill here. In all tests (with the exception of memory performance) the Core i7 980X simply stomps on the rest of the pack.
HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.
For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 (four total on the PII x4 955 and Core i5) is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.
Here things are a little different. Unfortunately as we have noted in the past the more complex the computation the bigger the hit. Trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 Million places twice on the same CPU core is going to slow things down. Just look at the i5 750 times vs. any of the HT enabled Core i7s.