The latest processors from Intel and AMD

In late August 2014, Intel released its high-end Core i7-5960X Haswell-E 8-core 3.0-GHz CPU, which includes a new X99 chipset, the first consumer processor using DDR4 memory, a new CPU socket that is not backward-compatible, and no GPU. A few days later AMD released its high-end 8-core FX Black 9000 series CPUs with a 4-GHz clock, DDR3 controller, and no GPU. Both systems use water-cooling for the CPU. 

Intel and AMD have new high-performance CPU products. Intel further strengthened its power in the market by introducing 14-nm products, while AMD uses a 28-nm process, and thus fell a step behind Intel.

The first thing we did was run PCMark (accelerated) with an AMD R9 290 AIB, and then an EVGA GTX 970. Using those scores, we calculated the Pmark, and got the following results.


Oranges to tangerines—the caveats

PMARK COMPARISON between the AMD and Intel CPUs and with AMD and Nvidia AIBs. AMD on the right is the clear winner. Nvidia’s AIB adds a slightly bigger boost than AMD’s.The Pmark indicates the AMD PC is a clear winner. However, there are caveats. AMD’s score was high due to its price being one fourth of Intel’s. If the price is neutralized (arbitrarily set to 100), the scores are quite different, and Intel is the better choice—but, the prices aren’t the same, and that is AMD’s advantage.

The comparison using PCMark is problematic; there are too many variables. The Intel PC has a slower CPU clock, but faster memory and a larger cache. In addition, the SSD in the AMD PC crashed, and we

replaced it with an older SSD, whereas the Intel PC has the latest SSD, and in PCMark the SSD is a factor. Having said all that, AMD still comes out the winner by a large margin using the Pmark. Other tests (below) tell a somewhat different story.


As shown by the raw PCMark scores, the Nvidia AIB delivered much higher score in the Intel system than the AMD AIB, and a higher score in the AMD PC. NVIDIA’S AIB improved the PCMark score for both PCs, especially on the Intel unit.

However, the difference between the AIBs was less significant in the AMD PC than it was in the Intel PC.

We’re not sure if the larger cache, the newer RAM, or the newer SSD gave such a big advantage to Nvidia’s AIB in the Intel PC. It may also be that the AMD PC’s higher clock rate nullified some of the advantage contributed by the AIB.


Passmark is a PC test with 32 standard benchmark tests that are available in five test suites. In addition, there are seven advanced testing windows for custom benchmarking.

THE PASSMARK PC test shows a considerable gain in Performance of the i7 over the AMD FX.The overall i7 Passmark score is 71% higher than the FX, and the CPU mark score for the i7 is 56% better than the AMD FX.

Geekbench 3

Geekbench 3 is Primate Labs’ cross-platform processor benchmark, with a new scoring system that separates single-core and multi-core performance, and new workloads that simulate real-world scenarios. GEEKBENCH test suit shows the Intel i7 beating the AMD FX on every test.

The average difference of all the Geekbench scores shows the i7 to beat the AMD FX by

85%, and in the memory performance test the i7 was 152% better, showing the benefit of the large cache and DDR4 RAM.

The AIBs 

The AIBs were comparable, with an advantage to Nvidia on clock speeds and advantage to AMD on shaders and memory bus. 

Synthetic tests 

Using popular synthetic benchmarks, we found the Intel PC was less influenced by the AIB than the AMD PC.



SURPRISING RESULTS showing little difference between PCs or AIBs.Futuremark, long known for taking the technology edge with their benchmarks, says FireStrike is the world’s first 4K gaming benchmark. A 4K monitor is not required, but the AIB must have at least 3 GB of memory to run this monstrously demanding benchmark.

The AMD PC with an Nvidia AIB got the highest score, but only 4.3% greater than the lowest score, which went to the AMD AIB in the AMD PC


Catzilla is distinguished by its animation and physics. After the test, the user receives a score and a badge indicating the power of the tested computer. THE GRAPHICS AIB had a major influence on the Catzilla graphics score with Nvidia showing the highest score regardless of the PC.

However, in the physics test, the major difference in performance was found to be the CPU. The AIBs themselves didn’t make much difference in either PC.


HEAVEN SHOWED the best performance with Nvidia, regardless of the PC.Based on the Unity game engines, the Heaven benchmark from Unity (current version 4.0) is a GPU-intensive test that places heavy loads on the AIBs. The test tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as to check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. The difference between the PCs with each AIB was only 1% on the Intel PC, and 0% in the AMD PC.




The game scores were close, the average of the tests we ran being slight negative for Nvidia.

Tomb Raider

Based on the Crystal game Engine, Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider is an extremely popular game with great effects. Nixxes Software BV did the PC versions of Tomb Raider (as well as Hitman: Absolution and Deus Ex: Human Revolution), which are great examples of what to expect in graphics quality. Running Tomb Raider showed the AMD AIB to offer better performance THE AMD AIB performed better on both PCs, with little difference between AIBs in a given PC.regardless of Tres (Tres FX is turned on in Ultimate), and regardless of which PC it was in. The wildly popular Tomb Raider features a built-in benchmark, which was put in the game to help users adjust the setting so it would run well regardless of the quality of the PC or AIB.


THE AMD AIB got 32% higher frame rate in the Intel PC, and 27% higher in the AMD PC, than the Nvidia AIB did in the Ultra with AA-enabled test at 4K.We ran the Hitman benchmark at 4K with AA on and off, and the AMD AIB got slightly better performance than the Nvidia


AIB regardless of the PC.


The difference between AIBs in the Intel PC was 46.7% in favor of the AMD AIB.

Hitman is another great game for benchmarking graphics, and it also has a built-in benchmark.

What do we think? 

If you’re looking for a new PC and have the budget, the Intel Haswell CPU-based machine is the choice to make. If you want good performance on a smaller

budget, you can’t beat the AMD FX PC. The Intel PC will cost less to operate because it uses less power, and we found its fans to run a little slower and a lot quieter, saving more watts.

You can hardly go wrong in selecting any combination of AIB and PC, unless you have a specific game in mind. AMD and Nvidia do tune their drivers for certain games, and by reading various benchmark reports you can see that. Also there are games like Arma that are very CPU-dependent.