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AMD and Intel extreme desktop CPU workout

Feel the burn

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Performance charts

The fourth memory channel and a few other tweaks – including that massive amount of L3 cache – mean that it’s a huge chip both in terms of transistor count (2.27 billion) and physical size, 435mm². Consequently, a whole a new socket, the LGA 2011 and a new supporting chipset, the X79 Express, are in order. Being a ‘K’ class chip means that its multiplier’s are unlocked, allowing it to be easily overclocked for even more grunt.

Benchmark Tests

PCMark7 overall score

AMD and Intel PCMark7 overall score

Longer bars are better

Cinebench R11.5 Index Score

AMD and Intel Cinebench R11.5 Index Score

Longer bars are better

AMD and Intel X264 V4.0 video encoding rate

AMD and Intel X264 V4.0 video encoding rate

Average frame rate: longer bars are better

Verdict

So, for the time being at least, if you've the budget, then it’s the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition for pure performance. Yet in reality, the Core i7 3930K makes a whole lot more sense, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and practically just as fast. Going down the AMD route offers a different way of looking at a fast PC. Yes there’s a big compromise in overall performance although the price of the FX-8150 being less than half the price of the Core i7 3930K will allow much more flexibility.

At around £184, the FX-8150 is a bit of a bargain. Indeed, the price is attractive to system builders, providing plenty of leeway to beef up the hardware specs they want to add for an AMD-based, high-end performance system. So if you need to save cash for more RAM, a faster GPU or a decent-sized SSD, then AMD provides a pretty respectable option. ®

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