New CPU Test Bed and Z77 Preview

For our Ivy Bridge review we tore up our previous CPU test bed and completely rebuilt it from both a hardware and software view.  With that in mind, we wanted to make sure you were completely up to date on what hardware and testing methods we are using for the review today and going forward.

Just in time for the review, Corsair sent us a 16GB kit of four DIMMs capable of running at 2400 MHz at 1.65v.  With support for higher memory clocks and the potential to see some interesting motherboard metric scaling with faster memory, we wanted to make sure we had some of the best modules from our partners available.  Also sent in were four Kingston HyperX DDR3-2400 modules in a 4 x 2GB configuration so we are sure we always have the right memory for the job.

Having previously used the PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 1200 watt power supply for CPU testing, I was eager to gain my hearing again and upgrade to a quieter unit.  Corsair sent over the Professional Series AX 650 watt power supply for our CPU test bed and the unit was able to provide completely stable power while also operating at a nearly silent sound level.  

To keep our CPUs at low temperatures and also with reasonable sound levels, Corsair supplied us with a Hydro Series H80 cooler that we decided to use only one of the 120mm fans with.  Even in our overclocking testing, the H80 was able to keep things running stable!

Our GPU of choice for this newly upgraded GPU test bed is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti.

Though I simply ran out of time to re-test ALL of the processors we wanted to, I think we hit the most important.  Included in our results today are the following CPUs:

  • Core i7-3770K – Ivy Bridge
  • Core i5-3570 – Ivy Bridge (simulated)
  • Core i7-2600K – Sandy Bridge
  • Core i5-2500 – Sandy Bridge (simulated)
  • Core i3-2105 – Sandy Bridge
  • Core i7-3960X – Sandy Bridge-E
  • Core i7-3820 – Sandy Bridge-E
  • Core i7-920 – Nehalem
  • AMD FX-8150 – Bulldozer
  • AMD Phenom II X6 1100T – Thuban

For our motherboard selection during Ivy Bridge testing we swapped between the MSI Z77A-GD65 and the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H as needed due to photography and demo scenarios. 

Both offered stable platform for our testing as well as setting a benchmark for which other Z77 motherboards will be compared going forward. 

With this change in hardware comes a revamp of the software used for our testing as well.  Here is the new suite:

Let’s see what these processors can do!

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