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Intel Core i7-5930K Review

Intel Core i7-5930K Review

There is absolutely no doubt that as far as desktop CPUs for enthusiasts go the Intel Core i7-5960X is the fastest chip around. Of course, it also comes with a hefty price tag too. For those who want the same features and the vast majority of the performance Intel have alternate models available for the same Socket 2011-3/X99 motherboards and we take a look at one of them today in our Intel Core i7-5930K Review.

Intel Core i7-5930K Review – Packaging and Bundle

intel-core-i7-5930k-review-box intel-core-i7-5930k-review-bundle

Intel stick with some familiar retail packaging for their latest CPUs. A small sticker in the bottom right corner lets us know what we are getting and inside, as well as the CPU, we find some documentation on the bundled McAfee software and a booklet about the CPU. No cooler is provided with the higher end Intel retail CPUs which is fair, because the target audience will most likely have their own preference on that front.

Intel Core i7-5930K Review – The CPU

intel-core-i7-5930k-review-cpu

Shown above is the 140w Intel Core i7-5930K which looks identical to the other models in the family. Flipping the CPU over we see the socket 2011-3 layout (which isn’t compatible with 2011/X79 boards) and in terms of the base design we have a 22nm Haswell family chip, just like the latest i7 CPUs on Z97/1155.

intel-core-i7-5930k-review-cpu-base

Of course, like the 5960X which we previously reviewed, the specifications have been changed significantly on this high end/enthusiast model with the i7-5930K featuring 6 cores and 12 threads, thats 2 extra cores, 4 threads more than what we find on the fastest mainstream parts, such as the i7-4790K. Cache levels are set to 32Kb of L1 data and instruction per core, 6x256KB of L2 and 15MB of shared L3 cache. The Intel Core i7-5930K runs at 3.5GHz as standard with turbo functionality peaking at 3.7GHz.

5930k-cpuz

In comparison with the other 2011-3 models the 8 core i7-5960X is 3.0-3.5GHz with 20MB cache and i7-5820K (another 6 core model) is 3.3-3.6GHz with 15mb.

Intel Core i7-5930K Review – Performance

Key Test Specifications:

Intel Core i7-5960X /Intel Core i7-4790K/Intel Core i7-5930K/FX-9590
ASUS Rampage V Extreme, Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5, Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5, MSI X99S Gaming9 AC
NVIDIA GTX 980/Radeon R9-290 X2
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2800
16GB Corsair Dominator DDR3-2666
Samsung 840 Evo 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB (SATA Testing)
OCZ RevoDrive 350 (PCIe testing)
Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD
Corsair AX1500i
Antec Kuhler 1250
Installed on a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench
Windows 8.1 64-bit
NVIDIA Drivers: 347.09/AMD Drivers: 14.12

hh-review-test-system

Cinebench R15
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Music Conversion (2CD lossless to MP3)
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Video Conversion 4K to 720p
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Memory Bandwidth
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Gaming GTX 980
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Gaming R9-295X2
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For full platform comparisons between X99, 990FX and Z97/X79 view our previous review here.

Intel Core i7-5930K Review – Conclusion

As we noted at the start of this review, one of the other CPUs in the same family as todays i7-5930K is the fastest consumer CPU around so it should come as no surprise that this product is very strong. What do we lose in choosing this model over that? Well, the obvious change is two less cores and four less threads. There is also a slight tweak to PCIe lane support but otherwise the two offer the same end user experience.

That change in core configuration impacts the comparison between the two 2011-3 CPUs in two key ways. For applications which take advantage of the 8 cores and 16 threads of the 5960X the performance will be better on that CPU. Having said that, if the applications you most use are limited in their multi-threaded approach then the 5930K can perform better due to having a higher base and turbo speed. Gamers wanting to build an X99 system for example could benefit from this part over the 5960X… and while the higher end Z97 compatible CPUs with 4 cores have higher GHz speeds, if you render your gameplay for YouTube etc, then this 5930K gives you a better balance between GHz and multi-threaded video rendering performance. Mixed of course with the latest features X99 offers. Looking over at AMD, as with the i7-5960X, put quite simply, there is not currently a FX CPU which competes with the i7-5930K.

So that brings us to value where the i7-5930K is available for roughly £350/$470 less than the 5960X and £200/$250 more than the best 1150 based CPU, the 4790K. That seems a fair level given the core configuration and performance on offer here which makes the Intel Core i7-5930K a worthy winner of our gold award.

Gold Award

 

Available from Ebuyer and Newegg.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

3 Comments

  1. IvanV

    A great piece of gear. Also, a fairly special one. It is certainly capable of rivaling any other solution at any normal test, but that does not really do it justice, because, under most circumstances, either already the regular i7s are overpowered, or the workload isn’t designed to take advantage of the extra cores and bandwidth. It would have been cool to see some tests which differ from the usual one which test this CPU as a workstation or server solution (the Cinebench test fits the “workstation” description, but it’s just one test).

  2. Nice Review might have to get myself one of these.

  3. In my experience since I’ve had the 3930k AT launch over 3 years and 3 months ago, while also having the 3770k and 4770k as well as dabbling with the 4790k, what I can say is that the 2 extra cores and even with it’s older architecture, still is vastly superior in every way compared to the general desktop models. Specially in very intensive multi core apps. x264 and x265 encoding is a complete no contest. And the other fact is that even under hugely demanding tasks, while the standard desktop models will actually hitch around a bit, the 6 core x79/x99 series cpu’s have never shown a single hint of being under incredible load, allowing a user to do such demanding tasks while still being able to do other things that usually would greatly impact both. An example would be rendering an encode while playing a game, typically you’d see hitching and loading delays in various demanding gaming environments. While these symptoms are noticeable on the 4790k and below, it’s completely unnoticeable on the x79/x99 which was probably the first thing I really noticed.

    The other factor is the overclocking potential of the chips seem to be very good. Being that the cpu’s themselves don’t come with a cooling method at all, investing in a quality heatsink or water cooler (if you decided to venture into dangerous waters), usually gives you an excellent start. Having ran the 3930k stock for about 6 months in order to guarantee myself a solid reliable problem free experience, I ventured into just a mild overclock jumping the base clock to 4.2ghz non turbo and 4.3ghz turbo, with speedstep still enabled allowing the cpu to do what it should do. Unless an insanely demanding task is raised, the cpu rarely every has a need to jump much beyond it’s low frequency/idle speeds.

    Personally, while the investment seems extremely steep, the long term implications are great, as well as the resale value. What I original purchased the cpu/motherboard for actually increased in value and still is worth more than I paid, granted this is likely to start dropping a bit soon, it’s nowhere near the problematic state of the other cpus.

    I know of a few people that build a new system every 2 generations, sometimes every 2 years regardless of a major generation change, moving from a 3770k to a 4770k for example. Some of these people gained very little from the change, but ended up spending more money overall than I have.

    I build the machine with the explicit intention of having something I could basically guarantee would out perform the standard desktop models for about 5 years. It still looks like this is going to hold true. I don’t know if skylake is indeed going to bring about a mild change where in which a 6 core variant finally arises, but if true, I suspect that such a case would be finally the only real contender to the old x79 3xxx series.

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