Overall System performance and Gaming
Here is where we dig out the FutureMark tests.
For overall system performance we use PCMark Vantage. This is run in both x86 and x64 mode to give the best indication of performance.
For PCMark we see an increase in performance of about 18%. This is an interesting shift and although 18% is not bad, I would have thought the extra four threads combined with the new AES-NI instructions would have shown a better gain here. Still, there is no doubt that even at stock speeds the Core i7 980X is the winner here.
For synthetic gaming tests we used the industry standard and overlockers bragging tool 3DMark Vantage. This is a test that strives to mimic the impact modern games have on a system. FutureMark went a long way to change from the early days of graphics driven tests to a broader approach including physics, AI, and more advanced graphics simulations. 3DMark Vantage uses the DX10 API in addition to having support for GPU and CPU based PhysX. However, with our move to using the AMD HD 5870 GPU, PhysX is no longer present in our scores, so the numbers you see here are only the CPU.
Ok, the only thing I can say here is 'Good Lord!' - Remember, these scores are CPU only; you are not seeing NVIDIA's PhysX coming into play here. With the CPU alone we get an almost 33% performance increase over the i7 975 at stock speeds.
Cinebench R10 x64
Cinebench is a synthetic rendering tool developed by Maxon. Maxon is the same company that developed Cinema4D another industry leading 3D Animation application. Cinebench R10 tests your systems ability to render across a single and multiple CPU cores. It also tests your systems ability to process OpenGL information.
This will be the last time we use Maxon's Cinebench R10. As such it is nice to see it go out with a healthy bang. We did see an interesting shift in single core rendering where the 975 did slightly better than the 980X, but in terms of multi-core rendering the 980X walks over all of them.
Cinebench R11.5 x64
Cinebench R11.5 is the newest version of the popular animation benchmark. Maxon has improved the render engine to allow for more efficient threading (sounds like a trend here). They have also included a few extras to make sure they stress all cores in the CPU (up to 64 threads).
The new test gets away from the older Single Core plus Multi-Core testing and just dives into your CPU to push it to its limits. They have also improved the OpenGL testing for the GPU half of the story. Maxon has also included a handy reference to see where your system stands in comparison to others. This is similar to Sisoft's Sandra.
These are really some impressive numbers here as they fall logically right behind some of the dual CPU systems running 16 threads. In fact, our overclocking tests put us almost directly in line with some of those systems.