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Intel Core i9 7900X & Core i7 7740X Review

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Intel Core i9 7900X & Core i7 7740X Testing:

Running a processor through a series of workloads can give us an indication of just how it will perform when compared to other processors and platforms. I will be running Intels Core i9 7900X and Core i7 7740X and comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly-prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 10 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest chipset drivers for each board and GeForce drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies, unless otherwise stated. After stock speed testing, each processor will then be overclocked as much as possible, while still maintaining full stability.

 

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 2066

  • Processors: Intel Core i9 7900X, Intel Core i7 7740X
  • CPU Cooling: Corsair H115i
  • Motherboard: MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 3600MHz 32GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000x
  • Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
  • Case: Corsair 780T
  • OS: Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

Testing Setup: AMD AM4 Ryzen 5

  • Processors: AMD Ryzen R5 1600X, R5 1500X
  • CPU Cooling: Wraith Max
  • Motherboard: ASUS B350 Prime Plus
  • Memory: Geil EVO X 3200Mhz 16GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000x
  • Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
  • Case: Corsair 780T
  • OS: Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

Testing Setup: AMD AM4 Ryzen 7

  • Processors: AMD Ryzen R7 1800X, R7 1700X, R7 1700
  • CPU Cooling: Corsair H110i
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5 Aorus
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance 3000Mhz 16GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000x
  • Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
  • Case: Corsair 780T
  • OS: Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

 

Testing Setup: Intel Z270

  • Processors: Intel 7th Generation Core i7 7700K
  • CPU Cooling: Corsair H115i
  • Motherboard: MSI Z270 SLI Plus
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 3600MHz 32GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000x
  • Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
  • Case: Corsair 780T
  • OS: Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

 

Testing Setup: Intel (Socket 1151)

 

Testing Setup: Intel (Socket 1150)

 

Testing Setup: AMD (Socket AM3+)

 

Overclocking:

  • Intel Core i9 7900X @ 4644MHz 46 x 101MHz
  • Intel Core i7 7740X @ 5050MHz 50 x 101MHz

 

Overclocking an Intel processor has not changed much over the past few years. Well, other than using gear ratios to jump the bclock up higher in large blocks rather than a few MHz at a time. To overclock both the Core i9 7900X and Core i7 7740X, I used the same methodology I have used to overclock Intel processors in the past. I start by bumping up the bclock multiplier until the system fails to boot. On the Core i7 7900X, it was with a multiplier of 47 and a bclock of 100MHz. On the Core i7 7740X, this came at a pretty impressive 5200MHz. Here is where my challenges started since both of these processors are able to overwhelm the Corsair H115i if you start hitting the voltage heavily. Moreso with the Core i9 7900X than the Core i7 7740X.

Starting with the Core i9 7900X, 4700MHz was not stable with the BIOS controlled voltage and the voltage I could apply to make the chip stable would almost instantly throw it into a thermal induced throttling of the CPU clock speeds. I set the load line calibration on the board to Mode 1, dropped the core clock speed to 4600MHz, and started dropping the core voltage and testing until I reached a stable 4600MHz using 1.18v applied to the cores. I was able to eek out a bit more core clock speed by bumping the bclock up to 101MHz and I could stay out of throttling in all of the test workloads with stability. Running the memory at the XMP profile of 3600MHz and 17-18-18-38 using 1.35v did not present any challenges. Any way you cut it, 4644MHz using 1.18v across 10 physical cores is still going to take a very good water cooled solution to keep the thermals in check. Comparing to the Haswell-E and Broadwell-E processors, this chip holds its own from a core clock speed perspective.

The Core i7 7740X is built upon the existing Kaby Lake architecture, so it should overclock similarly to the 7700K. Truth be told, it does a bit better than its socket 1151 bretheren in this regard. Again using the Corsair H115i, I found my limits to be thermal-related rather than clock speed-related. To keep the Core i7 7740X from throttling, I had to find the highest clock speed at the lowest voltages. Speeds of 5200MHz and 5300MHz are possible with better cooling, but for this test a high-end AIO is what we are using. I had to back down to 5GHz to get the processor to stop throttling and I started the game all over by droping core and SA voltage to stay at a 100% load without dropping clock speed due to thermals. I finally reached this point using 1.260 volts applied in the BIOS with the load line calibration set to Mode 1. This gave me the lowest amount of vdroop on the core, along with the lowest applied voltage. I bumped the bclock up to 101MHz to get a little more clock speed out of the chip and was able to stay at 5050MHz with the ring bus at 46 and the G.Skill Ripjaws V cranking right on up with the processor.

The key to overclocking these two processors is to find the maximum clock speed your cooling can handle, then start dropping the applied voltage to claw back some thermal headroom. I can say I am happy with what I was able to get out of these processors and know that there is more meat on the bone when I get them under a custom water loop.         

 

 

Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Bibble 5
  4. Office 2016
  5. POV-Ray 3.7
  6. ProShow Gold
  7. HandBrake 1.0
  8. Sandra 2016
  9. AIDA64
  10. Cinebench R15
  11. X.265 Benchmark
  12. PC Mark 8
  • Video:
  1. Tom Clancy's The Division
  2. Hitman (2016)
  3. 3DMark



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