Desktop processors

Zero1 Awards 2018 – Desktop – CPUs

December 6, 2018 — by Digit0


Desktop processors have come a ridiculously long way over 2018. Both AMD and Intel have pushed the envelope this year. CPUs had been Intel’s home ground for years before the two companies began competing with each other. The battle’s been raging for more than four decades and it seems that AMD has gained a significant foothold of, what used to be Intel’s territory. Don’t get the wrong idea, Intel still dominates the market in terms of pure sales figures.

In the Indian market, Intel has a 90% market share with AMD at 10%. However, AMD gained numbers primarily because the Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs that offer a lot more cores for the same amount. Over the past few months, Intel CPUs have been in short supply and are taking longer to appear in the Indian market leading to AMD getting an ever bigger piece of the pie. This should give you a clear idea about who the winners for this years Zero1 Awards in the Desktop Processor category will be.

2018 Zero1 Award Winner: AMD Ryzen™ 2nd Gen Threadripper™ 2990WX

Officially, the world’s first 32-core HEDT CPU, the Ryzen™ 2nd Gen Threadripper™ 2990WX is an absolute monster of a CPU. It’s unlocked as all AMD CPUs are, has a massive 64 MB L3 cache and starts off with a base clock of 3 GHz. The sheer ridiculousness that one experience while benchmarking this CPU is indescribable. You have to experience it personally.

The 2990WX scores more than 5200 in Cinebench R15, that’s 800 points over last year’s Intel Core i9-7980XE. Should you overclock the 2990WX, you can push the Cinebench R15 scores to 6200! All of this comes at a price of `1,29,990. AMD’s pricing seems to be more consumer friendly since the 7980XE with 18-cores launched at a higher price. Intel’s best HEDT CPU would be the Core i9-9980XE is yet to reach India but that wasn’t going to make a difference. The Ryzen™ 2nd Gen Threadripper™ 2990WX wins this year’s Zero1 Award entirely on its own merit.

Runner-up: Ryzen™ 2nd Gen Threadripper™ 2970WX

Sporting six fewer cores, the Ryzen™ 2nd Gen Threadripper™ 2970WX comes in at second place. However, it’s not close a close second. The difference in performance metrics between the two SKUs can go as high as 16% in multithreaded applications and even more in certain benchmarks.

In single-core performance, the two are equally matched. With a 30K price difference between the two CPUs, the 2970WX seems to be more favourable for folks who wouldn’t mind a minor reduction in real-world performance in day-to-day applications. For those who are more into getting all the cores into action, the 2990WX is still the better option.

Editor’s Pick: Intel Core i9-9900K

We picked the Intel Core i9-9900K as the Editor’s pick for two simple reasons. It is the best processor for gaming and maintains a lead over its counterparts from AMD. Moreover, its single-core performance is also the highest we have ever seen.

The 9th Gen flagship is supposed to be priced at approximately `34,000, however, owing to a scarcity of CPUs the world over, the Intel Core i9-9900K can be seen retailing for nearly twice as much. It’s a great CPU but not worth the current price at all.

Desktop processors

Zero1 Awards 2017 – Desktop – Processors / CPUs

December 13, 2017 — by Digit0


After many years of incremental upgrades to CPUs, 2017 saw an intense amount of activity in the consumer processor space as AMD introduced their Ryzen lineup of CPUs. Intel was quick to reach and pulled its X299 platform launch ahead to counter the threat of AMD’s multi-core wonder. Then AMD released the HEDT Threadripper to counter Intel’s move and in return, Intel unleashed the 18-ccore Core i9-7980XE, thus taking back the crown. Temporarily, we hope. This kind of competition is simply too exciting for us. And it’s not just the consumer CPU space, the same Zen core architecture made its way into the enterprise segment as EPYC and AMD doubled down with more SKUs being introduced for thin-and-light form factors in the form of the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U. We’ve had the pleasure of testing most of these SKUs except for the Threadripper units which AMD did not send us. So excuse their absence from this year’s Zero1 awards.

2017 zero1 award Winner: Intel Core i9-7980XE

Intel Core i9-7980XE

The Intel Core i9-7980XE is the best CPU we’ve tested this year. Before we get into the numbers, let’s just get one thing out there, looking at 36 threads in the Task Manager’s Performance tab had us giggling like school kids over the ridiculousness of the sheer compute power at our disposal. The 7980XE has a lower Base frequency (2.6 GHz) owing to the massive number of cores it packs, however, the 4.2 GHz Turbo frequency shows that it doesn’t play with any handicap. A Cinebench multi-threaded score of 3,281 can leave you feeling a little light in the head. It’s powerful enough to encode a 4K video at nearly 60 FPS! Imagine that, you can have real time transcoding of media into any format under 4K. Moreover, it’s not bad at gaming benchmarks either. With such capability, it ends up being a power hog but HEDT was never about holding back, and rightly so, the Intel Core i9-7980XE wins the Zero1 Award.

Runner up: Intel Core i9-7960X

Coming in just a few positions behind the 7980X E is the Intel Core i9-7960X which ends up as this year’s Zero1 runner-up. It has a Cinebench multi-threaded score of 3,082 which seems a bit distant from the 7980XE but you’d be surprised how close they end up in certain benchmarks. Transcoding is just as quick and the same can be said for most benchmarks. If you wanted an HEDT without spending too much (too much being subjective here), then the 7960X is a great CPU or you can always check out the 7900X.

Best Buy: AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

The 8th Gen launch has been marred by low stocks everywhere in the world, the flagship K-SKUs are very hard to come by but the Core i5 8400 has been seen in plenty, at least, now we do. It faces a strong competition from the Ryzen 5 1600 which is a 6C/12T CPU and the Ryzen 5 1500X (4C/8T) while the 8400 remains a 6C/6T CPU. The problem lies in the pricing. Because of the shortage, the 8400 retails for a higher price than the 1500X or the 1600. Which is why the Ryzen 5 1500X is the better deal.

Editor’s Pick: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X

The Zen architecture is responsible for the disruption that’s spreading in the entire computing space including mobility and enterprise segments. Among the first set of Ryzen CPUs, the 1800X is definitely the flagship, however, for a few bucks less you get the 1700X which performs just as well which is why we’d like to give it a special mention. And now, 2018 appears to be packing in a lot more action.

Desktop processors

Zero1 Awards 2016 – Desktop CPU

December 16, 2016 — by Digit0


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Desktop processors

Desktop Processors

December 18, 2015 — by Digit

No surprises this year as Intel did a clean sweep of awards at this year’s processor performance stage. It truly is the performance powerhouse when it comes to processing.

This can be said to be yet another uneventful year in the world of desktop processors with the same trends as last year being carried forth like a bored white collar worker stuck in his mundane life. It seems next year, this section will see a lot more back and forth action happening as the two giants duke it out one more time.

Zero1 Winner: Intel Core i7-5960X Processor Extreme Edition

There can be no other that can occupy this spot and for good reason. The Intel Core i7-5960X is based on the same architecture that Intel uses in its server lineup which means there are a heck lot more cores (read eight) and threads (read sixteen) coupled with the latest technology that rears its head in the enterprise segment before making its way to the consumer segment. While we’re yet to see pinnacle in terms of the choice of motherboards for the year-old platform, the current range of hardware is more than enough for it to maintain an enormous lead in terms of performance. The X99 platform as a whole has become a lot more expensive compared to the X79 when it had launched so adoption seems to be a little low. Regardless of all that, the Intel Core i7-5960X takes the Zero1 award for 2015 and might retain the same in the coming year if AMD’s Zen architecture doesn’t have any offerings for the enthusiast segment.
Price: Rs. 88,490

Runner-ups: Intel Core i7-5930K, Intel Core i7-6700K

It shouldn’t be any surprise that when it comes to a pure performance category like processors, the runner-ups are likely to be SKUs which are next in line. While Intel does come out with too many SKUs each year we’ve gone ahead with processors at slightly different price points to cover a wider gamut. The Intel Core i7-5930K is what you’d call a budget enthusiast desktop processor coming in at roughly half the cost as the Intel Core i7-5960X and is the closest you’ll get without losing out on features. It has two fewer cores than the flagship and is clocked slightly lower as well but other than that the two are quite identical. If you take one more step back, you’ll end up with the Intel Core i7-5820K which has fewer PCIe lanes that cripples an enthusiast platform but is a beast nevertheless.
Price: Rs. 49,250

The other runner-up this year is the Intel Core i7-6700K which is the flagship Skylake processor. With the voltage regulator taken off the die, we hope to see this processor scale better than its Haswell counterpart. Moreover, the improved IGP, i.e. the Intel HD Graphics 530 has been turning quite a few heads as well. While adoption might take a back seat given how expensive DDR4 memory is at the moment, that will change within a year.
Price: Rs. 33,990

Best Buy: Intel Core i7-5775C

The beast that never was. While most haven’t even heard of this processor, it turned out to be an underdog that is yet to hit the spotlight. With a massive 128 MB cache sitting right next to the processor this little Broadwell CPU had a significant advantage compared to every other CPU in its price range.
Moreover, it happens to have a TDP of only 65 W compared to most desktop flagships that end up having something around 81 W – 91 W. So it’s cooler, runs equally fast or sometimes better in certain scenarios as compared to flagships and is economically price. Unfortunately, it was released a little too close to Skylake which completely eclipsed the Intel Core i7-5775C.
Price: Rs. 27,670