Intel Sandy Bridge E 3930K CPU Review

CPU by leeghoofd @ 2011-12-13

On the 14th of November Intel has shown it's brand new high end platform baptized Sandy Bridge E to the world. Almost all of the press sample kits included only the Extreme version aka the 3960X CPU. Some lucky hardware sites got a 3930K version, with unlocked multiplier, from a 3rd party to test or review. Since this K skew CPU is retailing at only half the price it could become quite a steal. This if it performs alike it's bigger brother. Major difference between the Extreme and the K version is the reduced L3 cache from 15Mb down to 12Mb. Yet, as mentioned before, the multiplier remains fully unlocked, similar to the K skews of the little 2500K and 2600K socket 1155 models, the latter two being heavily popular, as speeds over 4.5Ghz are a breeze. Before continuing with the review : a big thanks to the guys from Tones webshop to supply us with a brand new retail 3930K CPU. Now let's get it on !

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Stock Clocks Part I

Time to see where the cheaper SB-E 3930K CPU ends up in the pack. Small recap on the test setup :

For the RAMs we are still using the Corsair Dominator rams running at 1600 C8-8-8-24 Command rate 1T (where possible). These in either a dual, triple (X58) and finally a quadruple ram config for the X79 platform. Graphics coming from a GTX480 Nvidia GPU, running at reference clocks. Operating System is a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64bit, all updates and SP1 installed (this to allow for AVX support).

For this page, we still include some older generation CPUs, just to see how big the performance leap is for this brand new architecture. Sadly we don't have all of them CPU's anymore, so newer bench suites couldn't be tested. Those are for the following pages...

Let's start with our super single threaded SuperPi 1M test, to quickly find out if this latest Intel creation can keep up with it's predecessors. The other test in the two below charts is Wprime, absolutely multithreaded pur sang : a perfect stress test for all the available cores.


The little 3930K right on the heels of it's bigger brother. Having to content itself with 100mhz less Turbo speed and less cache it still manages to outperform the entire socket 1366 lineup. And we didn't expect anything less !



In SuperPi 1M the performance gap between the two SB-E's ain't that big as the test is very brief. Though with 32M the gap with the lesser cache equipped 3930K CPU, is more pronounced. Similar with the Wprime 1024, where the slower core speeds lead up to a 12 sec difference.



Cinebench release 10 64bit has always been a reliable partner in our test suite. Being able to thoroughly test single, as multi threaded performance. No surprises here either, as the 3930K only has to tolerate it's Extreme brother.



The X264HD video codec encoding test, loves the entire Sandy Bridge lineup. Out of the box the 3930K gives our i7 970 Gulftown CPU a big spanking. Again a solid 2nd place consolidated for our 3930K CPU.



In the two older synthetic Futuremark 3D tests, the SB-E lineup can't outperform the stellar SB's CPUs. Not even quad channel brings new records for the memory bandwith hungry 3DMark01 test. 3DMark06 loves CPU power and the performance scaling is clearly visible. Again the difference between the Extreme 3960X and the 3930K is minimal.



Our two small game tests are run at 1280 x 1024 resolution with medium detail to exclude the GPU bottleneck. Ofcourse nowadays close to none will run these games at them above tested resolutions or detail levels. It's just to give a basic idea of the performance increase of the new CPU architectures versus the old.


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