Event Coverage

HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2012: Editor's Choice - Part 2

By Team HardwareZone - 2 Mar 2012

Best Desktop CPU

Best Desktop CPU

The year 2011 could have been the year for PC chip manufacturers; however, the über-CPUs we were expecting from both Intel and AMD were not quite what we had expected. AMD’s new Bulldozer architecture did not translate into exceptional performance figures based on our benchmarks. Intel’s offerings of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs were indeed the fastest processors we've ever see, but such raw computational prowess came at a high cost of the platform. Nevertheless, we pit the best from both companies.


  • AMD FX-8150
  • Intel Core i7-3960X

And the Winner Is...

Intel's Core i7-3960X gets our nod.

The Intel Core i7-3960X is a processor that is meant for power users and system builders who are setting up their workstations or servers. With such demanding performance requirements, it is no surprise that this new comer sports some serious new features like a quad-channel DDR3-1600MHz capable memory controller, an on-die 40-lane PCIe controller that can operate at PCIe 3.0 speeds, supports various flexible PEG slot arrangements, a huge 15MB L3 cache juggle all that data going in and out of various functions of the CPU, and new instruction sets to support SSE 4.2, AES and AVX instructions.

Selected CPU Benchmarks
Benchmark/Processor Model AMD FX-8150 'Black Edition' Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition
SYSmark 2007 218 275
Cinebench 11.5 5.96 10.49
Far Cry 2 92.35 fps 103.63 fps

As our results showed, from system suites to video rendering and gaming, the Intel Core i7-3960X had the upper hand in terms of performance. Sporting the same Intel Turbo Boost technology as the Sandy Bridge processors, the Core i7-3960X had a clear advantage over the AMD FX-8150 even in terms of power consumption, be it when the system was idle or when it was put through the paces with SPECviewperf 10 or 3DMark Vantage in loop to stress test the system. The price advantage of AMD FX-8150 offered an intriguing alternative; however, based on that lone advantage, we felt that the deserving victor was Intel Core i7-3960X.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model AMD FX-8150 'Black Edition' Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition
Performance 7.5 8.5
Features 8.0 8.5
Value 8.0 7.0
Overall 7.5 8.5
Price S$402 S$1,460

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.

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