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windwithme 13th December 2010 08:10

Intel most high end platform Core i7-950 with GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R OC Guide
I still remember Intel launched new platform in November 2008. It started the Core i7 Age.
This platform is LGA1366, and CPU is Core i7 series. The chipset is X58+ICH10R.
Half years later, Intel announced LGA 1156 platform and CPU has Core i3, i5 and i7 which is wider product range.
For LGA 1366 market position is not big impact compare to P55.

Currently, LGA 1366 platform strength are 3-channel memory and multi PCI-E x16.
The weakness is X58 power consumption is higher. The entry model is same as mid range LGA 1156 platform.
End of March, Intel announced first 32nm 6-cores 980X CPU for X58 platform to extend itsí life cycle.
Internet also has many news about next 6C12T Core i7-980X in 2011.

Back to our topic - Intel Core i7-950. Blue box is representing Intel.
The price is 9100NT, around 299USD.

Inside the box, there are CPU, original copper-bottom cooler, manual and Intel sticker.

The clock is 3.06GHz, support Turbo Boost to achieve 3.33GHz.
Physical 4 Cores with Hyper-Threading to reach 8 threading, also called 4C/8T.
45nm manufacturing, Max TDP 130W, 8MB L3 Cache. The spec above are all entry LGA 1366 CPU spec.

MB is GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R, the entry model for high end X58 chipset.
The price is around 7500NTD, 250USD.

Light blue and white colors design. The overall components and design are good.

Lower-Left Corner
2 X PCI-E X16 supports X16 and 2-Way/3-Way ATI CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology.
2 X PCI-E X16 supports X8
Realtek 8111E LAN Chip
Realtek ALC889 supports 7.1 channel and High Definition Audio/Dolby Home Theater technology
Design in Taipei

Lower-Right Corner
6 X Blue SATAII, provided by ICH10R, SATA2 supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10
2 X White SATAII, provided by GIGABYTE SATA2 chip, SATA2 supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD
1 X IDE, provided by GIGABYTE SATA2 chip
2 X White SATAIII, provided by Marvell 9128, SATA3 supports RAID 0, RAID 1
Dual BIOS, dual protection

Upper-Right Corner
6 X DIMM DDR3 supports 800/1066/1333/1866/2200(OC) and the maximum capacity is DDR3 24GB.
DDR3 uses 2 phase PWM and next is 24-PIN power connector.

Upper-Left Corner
LGA 1366 CPU socket. The electroplating metal cover for better looking.
Back is 8PIN design, UD3R uses 12 phase PWM to fulfill X58 platform Core i7 power.

4 X USB 2.0(Black/Yellow)
2 X USB 3.0(Blue)
1 X RJ-45 LAN port
2 X eSATA/USB 2.0 combo (Yellow)
1 X S/PDIF Fiber/Coaxial output
1 X 1394a
clr CMOS button

windwithme 13th December 2010 08:24

System Configuration
CPU: Intel Core i7-950
HD: Intel X25-V 40GB RAID 0
Cooler: Mega Shadow Deluxe Edition
OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit

Default performance
CPU 133.2 X 24 => 3197.8MHz 1.088V
DDR3 1865.2 CL8 9-7-24 1T 1.500V

Hyper PI 32M X8=> 17m 04.626s
CPUMARK 99=> 504

Nuclearus Multi Core => 21816
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 24.63/11822

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 257373

CPU => 5.53 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.12 pts

Windows Experience Index - CPU 7.5

PCMark Vantage => 15799

i7-950 spec is over 3GHz already. When user enable Turbo Boost, the clock can pull to 3.2~3.3GHz.
i7-950 can get very good scores in most common benchmark software. The CPU performance has achieved high end segment.
Also, DRAM can OC to DDR3 1866 without pulling CPU frequency and combine exclusive 3-channel technology, the overall performance can be enhanced more.

This time, I use new mid-end VGA - GTX460. I also test some 3D benchmark to compare the LGA 1366 performance.
3D Performance
3DMark Vantage => P17078
CPU SCORE => 47850
GPU SCORE => 14063

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1920 X 1200 => 209.18FPS

1920 X 1200 => 156.96/133.44/161.89/115.24 fps

windwithme 13th December 2010 08:41

1920 X 1080 => 3172

DX11 1920 X 1200 TEST A - 37.5 fps

GTX460 is mid-end VGA market, and its performance is quite well in the above games.
OC version clock is 715MHz which is higher than normal GTX460.
3DMark Vantage is also over 17000. LOST PLANET 2, need very high 3D performance, is over 37 pages as well.

Main BIOS Tuning Menu, called M.I.T.

System Status and Info

CPU 200Mhz/DDR3 2000 Setup Page

Memory Setup Page

Advanced DDR3 Parameter Setup

Voltage Page
Load-Line Calibration Standard/Level1/Level2
CPU Vcore 0.50000~1.90000V
QPI/Vtt Voltage 1.075~2.015V
CPU PLL 1.300~2.520V
IOH Core 1.000~2.000V
DRAM Voltage 1.300~2.600V

Besides CPU, DDR3 quality, voltage is also important for OC.
You can see the X58A-UD3R setup pages above, QPI/Vtt Voltage is important for pulling high clock.
CPU operates at 200/2000 stable will need 1.45~1.55V.
The voltage setup is the key factor for OC X58 chipset.

DDR3 Bandwidth Comparison
DDR3 1865.2 CL8 9-7-24 1T 1.500V
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 28574 MB/s
ADIA64 Memory Read - 16057 MB/s
MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 21755 MB/s

DDR3 2000 CL8 9-7-24 1T 1.600V
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 30813 MB/s
ADIA64 Memory Read - 21072 MB/s
MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 21755 MB/s

LGA 1366 platform is the only platform supports 3-channel technology. The DDR3 bandwidth is extremely high.
Especially, when OC to DDR3 2000, the performance is almost double.
DDR3 performance increased is the key strength for Intel phase in Core i7.

windwithme 13th December 2010 10:00

OC Performance
CPU 200 X 20 => 4000MHz 1.392V
DDR3 2000 CL8 9-7-24 1T 1.600V

Hyper PI 32M X8=> 14m 04.133s
CPUMARK 99=> 628

Nuclearus Multi Core => 26426
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 30.61/14690

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 313158

CPU => 6.88 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.40 pts

Windows Experience Index - CPU 7.7

PCMark Vantage => 18251

After i7-950 OC to 4GHz, you can compare the detail performance difference.
The performance increases over 20% in most benchmark software.
There is only Windows Experience Index is almost the same.
Itís due to Windows Experience Index is the estimate system performance. It doesnít test too detail items.
This system get 7.7 of 7.9 is very high score already.
I used to test several better quality Core i7, most need 1.30~1.392V to OC to 4.2GHz. Just for your reference.

3D Performance
3DMark Vantage => P17254
CPU SCORE => 54034
GPU SCORE => 14063

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1920 X 1200 => 210.98FPS

1920 X 1200 => 154.46/127.41/166.21/116.81 fps

1920 X 1080 => 3209

windwithme 13th December 2010 10:19

DX11 1920 X 1200 TEST A - 40.1 fps

In the same GPU clock, letís compare the performance by CPU difference.
3DMark Vantage GPU score is almost the same, but the CPU score raise around 13%.
FINAL FANTASY XIV, DEVIL MAY CRY4, StreetFighter IV Benchmark 3D performance also raise a little.
However, it doesnít mean higher CPU clock doesnít help 3D performance. Itís possible that CAPCOM games donít rely on CPU.
In the market, there are many GAME needs high CPU ability.

For Intel hi-end X58 platform, the entry model price always keeps at 300USD.
Since i7-920, i7-930 and i7-950 are all in this range.
The hi-end one is 32nm 6C12T 980X Extreme to replace 45nm 4C8T 965/975 Extreme.
So if you own LAG 1366 platform, you no need to envy 2011 Sandy Bridge.
After all, LGA 1155 is 32nm 4C8T i7 product line, so far there is no news about 6C12T CPU.

LGA 1366 is long life product in Intel platform.
Since Nov 2008 launched, Intel will launch new LGA2011 chipset in 2011 Q4.
This part is not same as LGA 1156 users which need to upgrade soon.
In multi-core performance, 980X and 990X can provide upgradeable higher performance.
Although I know the price is high, but itís still better than no 32nm 6C12T CPU can choose.

Last thing about X58 product line is X58 having wide product range in the market due to every vendor launched many models in past 2 years.
The most entry X58 chipset MB is same as X58A-UD3R around 250USD.
Compare to the other same price range P55 products, even the entry X58 products spec is still better than P55.
This is windwithme 15th LGA 1366 review in past 2 years. I hope it can be your reference data before purchasing. :)

This article is also published in my personal blog. WIND'S 3C
You are welcome to check any time.

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