Aside from this Linux booting mess on the Core i7 3960X, running this Sandy Bridge-E setup has been extremely pleasurable. It's the first time from a single-socket desktop/workstation I have been able to build the Linux kernel in under 60 seconds (or even under 50 seconds when overclocking) and the performance has been terrific. Speaking of overclocking, the i7-3960X could hit 4.625GHz with ease, but there would be an occasional lock-up. When running the i7-3960X at 4.5GHz, the system was table and running great. With the benchmarks in this article there are the results for this CPU at the stock speed (with 3.9GHz Turbo Boost enabled) and then at 4.5GHz.
The benchmarking in this article was done from an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" snapshot with the Linux 3.2 kernel. The processors being compared in this article include the following:
Fusion A8-3850: Llano; 2.9GHz quad-core.
AMD FX-8150: Bulldozer: 3.6GHz octal-core.
Intel Core i7 870: Lynnfield; 2.93GHz quad-core with Hyper Threading, 3.6GHz Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i7 920: Bloomfield; 2.66GHz quad-core with Hyper Threading, 2.93GHz Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i7 970: Gulftown; 3.2GHz six-core with Hyper Threading, 3.46GHz Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i7 990X: Gulftown; 3.46GHz six-core with Hyper Threading, 3.73GHz Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i5 2400S: Sandy Bridge; 2.5GHz quad-core, 3.3GHz Turbo Boost.
Intel Core i5 2500K: Sandy Bridge; 3.3GHz quad-core, 3.7GHz Turbo Boost.
The selection of processors that were re-tested for this comparison was limited to hardware that was available. With each setup a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, 4 x 4GB of Corsair Vengence DDR3-1600MHz memory (16GB), 900W SilverStone power supply, and an AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics card was used in each system. Each system was also using the same daily build configuration of Ubuntu 12.04 on Linux 3.2.
Via the Phoronix Test Suite and the latest 3.6-Arendal release, a variety of Linux benchmarks was run on each setup.