Intel Core i9-10980XE
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Our test setup is as follows:
Let’s start off with Cinebench R20. It supports up to 256 threads and shines with high core count processors. The 3960X is way out in front here and only the overclocking headroom of the 10980XE allows it to push ahead of the stock 3950X.
Blender is tailor made for high core count processors and the results speak for themselves. Again the 3950X excels and it’s only with overclocking that the 10980XE moves ahead, though it still can’t touch the 3960X.
7Zip is a file compression application that scales well with memory bandwidth as well as high core counts. The 10980XE eeks out a win over the 3950X, but then we’d expect it to with its core count advantage and Intel’s traditionally strong memory performance.
CPUZ includes a handy little benchmark that actually provides a good reference with its decent single and multi-threaded workloads. The 10980XE trails the 3950X again.
Geekbench uses a mix of lightly and highly threaded workloads to measure overall CPU performance. The 10980XE is competitive here.
Handbrake is a popular video transcoding tool. The 10980XE is beaten handily by the 3950X. Even the 12 core 3900X has its nose in front. But once again it has a lot of OC headroom.
POV Ray is a popular ray tracing benchmark. This is another mediocre result for the 10980XE with the 3950X handily in front again.
3DMark’s Time Spy Extreme test scales well with higher core counts. Here’s a decent result for the 10980XE, though the 3950X isn’t far behind.
Unlike the workloads above, most games are simply not coded to take advantage of very high core count CPUs. Other games downright struggle. Bear in mind that the majority of gamers are still using dual and quad core CPUs. There’s nothing stopping anyone from gaming on Threadripper or Cascade Lake-X systems, but you’re always better putting the money towards a faster GPU if you’re budget limited.
The results close right up in 3DMark’s TimeSpy benchmark. It’s the first indicator that pure gamers should go for one of the mainstream platforms.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is still a very GPU demanding game but it’s one that doesn’t seem to mind high core counts. The Intel chips are out in front, but when you crank up the game detail, the differences are quite small.
Metro Exodus is an example of a game that doesn’t work well with high core counts. The 10980XE and particularly the 3960X drop frames in even heavily GPU limited scenarios.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War seems to favour the Intel processors. Again though, the higher core count processors run into a disadvantage in this game.
Finally we tested Counter-Strike: Global Offensive using a test map. For such an old game you’d expect high core count CPUs to really struggle here but they all compete reasonably well, a bit of a surprise really. Credit to Valve for keeping the Source engine updated. Still, the mainstream platforms are the only real option if you’re a competitive FPS gamer.
Page 1: Introduction, Details, Motherboards
Page 2: System Benchmarks, Gaming Benchmarks
Page 3: Performance, Heat and Power, Conclusions
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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