PCMark Vantage HDD Suite is a staple of our testing here with SSDs and today we will finally get the opportunity to run the Performance Suite! The PCMark Vantage Suite is a trace-based test of common user activities. This is a trace based test; several recorded traces of user activity are used to simulate actual usage. This is really the meat and potatoes of our testing, as it shows a wide range of user activities.
The benchmark consists of several individual tests that comprise the whole; each sub-test has two individual sessions.
- Memories 1: The memories suite tests CPU image manipulation and simultaneous importing of pictures into Windows Photo Gallery.
- Memories 2: Tests intensive transcoding (VC-1 to WMV9)
- TV and Movies 1: Simultaneous transcoding and playback.
- TV and Movies 2: 3 Simultaneous HD Video playback.
- Gaming 1: GPU Gaming and simultaneous data decompression. (compressed levels)
- Gaming 2: CPU gaming (Heavy AI Traffic) simultaneous HDD Gaming.
- Music 1: Web Page Rendering, Audio Transcoding, adding music to Windows Media Player
- Music 2: WAV to WMA lossless Transcoding
- Communications 1: CNG AES CBC encryption, Data compression, Windows mail (simultaneous)
- Communications 2: Simultaneous Web Page rendering, data decryption, Windows Defender scan
- Productivity 1: text editing
- Productivity 2: Contacts Searching, Windows Mail, Web Rendering, Application loading
The PCMV Suite is very intensive, as can be evidenced by the list above. These tests simulate multiple instances of heavily CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD dependent tests. These are whole system tests that are very stressful for any system. PCMark Vantage is one of the hardest benchmarks for competitive purposes, as it takes a rock-solid system to run.
Running these types of programs simultaneously within each suite is just pure punishment for performance testing. These tests were performed at stock clock settings, as the performance with overclocking will scale somewhat lineally as the speed goes up. The percentage of performance difference would remain somewhat steady as the clock speed rises.
Bearing in mind that these are very intensive tests, the results are somewhat shocking! In many cases the 3820 bests the 3930K. As a matter of fact, when comparing the results it is very easy to see the areas in which the multiple cores come into play. The multiple cores really aid in the transcoding tests, but outside of those regions the 3820 comes out on top, or very close, in many categories.
This definitely gives credence to the fact that a six core CPU isnt always going to be the best choice for the casual user. When we take into consideration that the 3930K is double the price of the 3820, we begin to see that it would be hard to make a case for buying a six core for the much higher price.
This performance should be somewhat exciting for those who wish to use the 3820 in gaming computers, as they will get great performance for their dollar!
PCMV POWER TESTING
The chart below will take a bit of thought to decipher, but it will give some critical insight into the performance difference between the two processors!
Once again we are monitoring the power consumption of the respective processors during the PCMark Vantage tests that we have run. As you can see the 3930K has consumed much more power across the board than the 3820. ‘The Power Variance’ column shows the percentage of more power that the 3930K used compared to the 3820.
The question is, How much performance do we gain for that much more power?
Shockingly, in the majority of cases, there are very small gains. In some cases, there is NO gain!
- In the Memories 1 suite the 3930K consumed 21 percent more power, but had 4 percent less performance.
- In the Gaming 1 suite the 3930K consumed 24 percent more power, but with 6 percent less performance.
- In the Music 1 suite the 3930K consumed 24 percent more power, for 19 percent more performance.
There are two suites where the 3930K does have large performance variances compared to the 3820, and these are the suites where the multiple cores are leveraged by the workload. It is important to remember that the workloads that are being tested here are representative of normal user activity. This does not mean that the 3930K is not as powerful as its billing. It certainly is, and then some!
It is clear, however, that in typical user scenarios the 3930K isn’t always the answer. In heavily multithreaded applications, extreme performance benchmarking, and enterprise applications the 3930K will certainly outstrip the 3820.
Overall, with these types of ‘normal user’ workloads, the power v performance ratio is not very good for the 3930K. There are many cases where the power consumption and the performance variation in the scores overall do not merit a 2x price for the 3930K.