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Editor: Julio Franco

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Test System Specs & Futuremark

Core i7 Test System Specs
- Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition (LGA1366)
- Intel Core i7 940 (LGA1366)
- Intel Core i7 920 (LGA1366)
- x3 1GB DDR3-1066 Samsung (CAS 7-7-7-20)
- Intel DX58SO (Intel X58) Pre-Production
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 500GB 7200-RPM (Serial ATA300)
- ASUS GeForce GTX 280 (1GB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 180.43 Beta
Core 2 Test System Specs
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (LGA775)
- Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 (LGA775)
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (LGA775)
- x2 Kingston HyperX 2GB DDR3-1333 (CAS 7-7-7-20)
- ASUS Rampage Extreme (Intel X48)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 500GB 7200-RPM (Serial ATA300)
- ASUS GeForce GTX 280 (1GB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 180.43 Beta
Phenom X4 Test System Specs
- AMD Phenom X4 9950 (AM2+)
- x2 Kingston HyperX 2GB DDR2-1066 (CAS 5-5-5-15)
- ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe (AMD 790FX)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 500GB 7200-RPM (Serial ATA300)
- ASUS GeForce GTX 280 (1GB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 180.43 Beta

Right away we see a healthy 7.5% performance increase in the 3Dmark Vantage CPU test when comparing the new Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor to the Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.00GHz), which is obviously very impressive. The Core i7 940 (2.93GHz) processor was 10% faster, while the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition with Turbo Mode disabled was 15% faster. By enabling Turbo Mode the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition extends its lead over the Core 2 Quad Q9650, delivering 19.5% more performance.

However, the real story is in the overclocked Core i7 965 Extreme Edition configuration, which was working at 3.88GHz and delivered 30% more performance when compared to the heavily armed Core 2 Quad Q9650. Furthermore, the Core i7 920, which is clocked only slightly higher than the Phenom X4 9950, was able to deliver 25% more performance. The Core 2 Duo E6700, which was once the flagship Core 2 Duo processor, was 40% slower than the Core i7 920.

Now we are testing with PCmark Vantage, where we will be focusing on the “Gaming” scores of each configuration. As you can see, the Core i7 920 almost delivered 40% more performance than the Core 2 Quad Q9650, despite being less aggressively clocked.

The Core i7 940 provided another 6.5% increase in performance, while the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition was another 13% faster with Turbo Mode enabled. Overclocking the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition to 3.88GHz made it 75% faster than the Core 2 Quad Q9650, which is quite incredible really.

The PCmark communications test is not quite as generous but still the Core i7 920 was able to put away the Core 2 Quad Q9650 by a small margin.

The Phenom X4 9950 performed very poorly in this test and failed to outperform the old Core 2 Duo E6700. The Core i7 965 Extreme Edition processor using the Turbo Mode feature was 20% faster than the Core 2 Quad Q9650.