Today we are going to look at an offering from Intel that has actually been around for quite some time. In fact it was released in the second quarter of 2009. You may be asking yourself why are we looking at a chip from a year and a half ago? Well, in short, the recent price drop on the Intel Core I7 950 has made this particular processor much more of an attractive option for the masses. When the Intel Core I7 950 was initially released it had a price tag of $560. This wasn’t a price that many wanted to pay. That was then, and a new day has dawned or at least the Intel Core I7 950 has gotten a serious price slash. Currently you can find the Core I7 950 online for only $294.99. This isn’t a bad price for this much power. Though if you are one of the lucky ones who happens to live near a Microcenter, you can purchase the Intel Core I7 950 for as little as $199.99 as we were fortunate enough to do. Only problem is that this is limit one per customer and in store only.
Does the Intel Core I7 950 have any differences from the I7 920 through the I7 940? Nope, well aside from frequency of course. The QPI remains at 4.8GT/s, the TDP is 130W like all of the Intel Core I7 processors, and the L3 Cache is 8Mb as well. As stated the only difference is the frequency, the Intel Core I7 950 trots along at a comfortable pace of 3.06GHz thanks to the x23 multiplier and the 133MHz base clock speed. When Intel’s turbo technology kicks in the Core I7 950 runs along at 3.33Ghz. Does the drop in price for the Intel Core I7 950 mean that we are going to see the end of the Intel Core I7 930? If Newegg.com is any indication, I believe that it does as we can’t find the I7 930 available there.
Taking a look at the die of the Intel Core i7 950 processor we see a first for Intel processors — the integrated memory controller. This on-die, triple channel, DDR3 memory controller is unique in the fact that it allows consumers to run three memory modules together for optimal performance. By moving to an integrated memory controller and triple channel memory the platform has over 25GB/s of throughput between the processor and DDR3 memory modules!
For those that follow processor architecture you will notice a brand new cache structure on the Core i7 diagram shown above. All Intel Core i7 processors feature L1, L2, and shared L3 caches. Before, Intel Core 2 Duo and Quad processors had just an L1 and L2 cache. The break down on the cache is as follows: there is a 64K L1 cache (32K Instruction, 32K Data) per core, 1MB of total L2 cache, and an impressive 8MB chunk of L3 cache that is shared across all the cores. That means that all Intel Core i7 processors have over 9MB of memory right there on the 45nm processor!
|Processor||Core I7 950|
|Number of Cores||4|
|Number of Threads||8|
|Clock Speed||3.06 GHz|
|Max Turbo Frequency||3.33 GHz|
|Intel Smart Cache||8 MB|
|Intel QPI Speed||4.8 GT/s|
|Number of QPI Links||1|
|Instruction Set Extensions||SSE4.2|
|Embedded Options Available||No|
|Max TDP||130 W|
|VID Voltage Range||0.800V-1.375V|
|Max Memory Size||24 GB|
|Number of Memory Channels||3|
|Max Memory Bandwidth||25.6 GB/s|
The Intel Core I7 950 is host to several “advanced technologies” such as Intel Turbo Boost Technology, and Intel Hyper-Threading. You can find all of the technologies from Intel and which ones the I7 950 takes advantage of below.
|Intel Turbo Boost Technology||Yes|
|Intel Hyper-Threading Technology||Yes|
|Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x)||Yes|
|Intel Trusted Execution Technology||No|
|AES New Instructions||No|
|Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology||Yes|
|Intel Demand Based Switching||No|
|Thermal Monitoring Technologies||No|
|Execute Disable Bit||Yes|
Before we get to far into the good stuff, we need to take a look at the system we will be using for our testing today.