Overclocking Intel’s Xeon E5620: Quad-Core 32 nm At 4+ GHz

Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding

Now in version 10, we’d expect iTunes to take better advantage of threaded processors, but it still doesn’t. The three 4 GHz chips turn in nearly identical scores, and the 2.4 GHz stock Xeon shows what a 1.6 GHz deficit does in a single-threaded piece of software.

Now this is more like it. Understandably, the quad-core 2.4 GHz Xeon gets smoked in this freely-available well-threaded transcoding app. But when it’s overclocked to 4 GHz, it’s able to edge out Intel’s Core i7-930.

As a point of comparison, the six-core Core i7-970 is 25% faster than the i7-930, but you have to pay an additional 300% for that extra performance. Unless you’re transcoding professionally and simply cannot get enough compute muscle, it’d be hard to justify such a steep premium.

DivX capitalizes on available core count, and easily shows how much faster the overclocked Xeon E5620 is versus the same CPU in stock form. A higher memory frequency and more L3 cache help nudge that overclocked Xeon in front of Intel’s Core i7-930 running at 4 GHz, but the six-core Core i7-970 takes first place (at a significant cost).

Xvid isn’t as nice to the Gulftown-based chip, crashing before the job can finish. This is an issue we’ve seen before, and it looks like it still hasn’t been fixed. Instead, the overclocked Xeon takes first-place here.

A 50%-higher core count and an extra 4 MB of L3 cache buys 34% additional performance when you compare the Core i7-970 to the i7-930. That’s not perfect scaling, but it’s reasonable. The overclocked Xeon E5620 is 2% quicker than the i7-930 baseline at 4 GHz.

Clearly, threading rules this test—the question is: are you ready to pay hundreds of dollars more for the speed boost?

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  • mi1ez
    Well that was a bit pointless....
  • LePhuronn
    Well given that I have run a couple of i7 920s at 4GHz on 1.3V and never hit 75 degrees with good air coolers I don't see me jumping any time soon...
  • gdilord
    On the last page:
    Consequently, it runs less hot and consumes less power.

    I think that "Consequently, it runs cooler and consumes less power" would be a lot less cumbersome.