Test Bed and Setup

As per our processor testing policy, we take a premium category motherboard suitable for the socket, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the manufacturer's maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend our testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i7-7740X (4C/8T, 112W, 4.3 GHz)
Intel Core i5-7640X (4C/4T, 112W, 4.0 GHz)
Motherboards ASRock X299 Taichi 
MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 
GIGABYTE X299 Gaming 9
Cooling Thermalright TRUE Copper
Silverstone AR10-115XS (for LGA1151)
Power Supply Corsair AX760i PSU 
Corsair AX1200i Platinum PSU
Memory Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4-2666 2x8 GB
Video Cards MSI GTX 1080 Gaming 8GB 
ASUS GTX 1060 Strix 
Sapphire R9 Fury 4GB 
Sapphire RX 480 8GB 
Sapphire RX 460 2GB
Hard Drive Crucial MX200 1TB
Optical Drive LG GH22NS50
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds. Some of this hardware is not in this test bed specifically, but is used in other testing.

Thank you to Sapphire for providing us with several of their AMD GPUs. We met with Sapphire back at Computex 2016 and discussed a platform for our future testing on AMD GPUs with their hardware for several upcoming projects. As a result, they were able to sample us the latest silicon that AMD has to offer. At the top of the list was a pair of Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury 4GB GPUs, based on the first generation of HBM technology and AMD’s Fiji platform. As the first consumer GPU to use HDM, the R9 Fury is a key moment in graphics history, and this Nitro cards come with 3584 SPs running at 1050 MHz on the GPU with 4GB of 4096-bit HBM memory at 1000 MHz.

Further Reading: AnandTech’s Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury Review

Following the Fury, Sapphire also supplied a pair of their latest Nitro RX 480 8GB cards to represent AMD’s current performance silicon on 14nm (as of March 2017). The move to 14nm yielded significant power consumption improvements for AMD, which combined with the latest version of GCN helped bring the target of a VR-ready graphics card as close to $200 as possible. The Sapphire Nitro RX 480 8GB OC graphics card is designed to be a premium member of the RX 480 family, having a full set of 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 6 Gbps with 2304 SPs at 1208/1342 MHz engine clocks.

Further Reading: AnandTech’s AMD RX 480 Review

With the R9 Fury and RX 480 assigned to our gaming tests, Sapphire also passed on a pair of RX 460s to be used as our CPU testing cards. The amount of GPU power available can have a direct effect on CPU performance, especially if the CPU has to spend all its time dealing with the GPU display. The RX 460 is a nice card to have here, as it is powerful yet low on power consumption and does not require any additional power connectors. The Sapphire Nitro RX 460 2GB still follows on from the Nitro philosophy, and in this case is designed to provide power at a low price point. Its 896 SPs run at 1090/1216 MHz frequencies, and it is paired with 2GB of GDDR5 at an effective 7000 MHz.

We must also say thank you to MSI for providing us with their GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GB GPUs. Despite the size of AnandTech, securing high-end graphics cards for CPU gaming tests is rather difficult. MSI stepped up to the plate in good fashion and high spirits with a pair of their high-end graphics. The MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GB graphics card is their premium air cooled product, sitting below the water cooled Seahawk but above the Aero and Armor versions. The card is large with twin Torx fans, a custom PCB design, Zero-Frozr technology, enhanced PWM and a big backplate to assist with cooling.  The card uses a GP104-400 silicon die from a 16nm TSMC process, contains 2560 CUDA cores, and can run up to 1847 MHz in OC mode (or 1607-1733 MHz in Silent mode). The memory interface is 8GB of GDDR5X, running at 10010 MHz. For a good amount of time, the GTX 1080 was the card at the king of the hill.

Further Reading: AnandTech’s NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founders Edition Review

Thank you to ASUS for providing us with their GTX 1060 6GB Strix GPU. To complete the high/low cases for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, we looked towards the GTX 1060 6GB cards to balance price and performance while giving a hefty crack at >1080p gaming in a single graphics card. ASUS offered a hand here, supplying a Strix variant of the GTX 1060. This card is even longer than our GTX 1080, with three fans and LEDs crammed under the hood. STRIX is now ASUS’ lower cost gaming brand behind ROG, and the Strix 1060 sits at nearly half a 1080, with 1280 CUDA cores but running at 1506 MHz base frequency up to 1746 MHz in OC mode. The 6 GB of GDDR5 runs at a healthy 8008 MHz across a 192-bit memory interface.

Further Reading: AnandTech’s ASUS GTX 1060 6GB STRIX Review

Thank you to Crucial for providing us with MX200 SSDs. Crucial stepped up to the plate as our benchmark list grows larger with newer benchmarks and titles, and the 1TB MX200 units are strong performers. Based on Marvell's 88SS9189 controller and using Micron's 16nm 128Gbit MLC flash, these are 7mm high, 2.5-inch drives rated for 100K random read IOPs and 555/500 MB/s sequential read and write speeds. The 1TB models we are using here support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 (eDrive) encryption and have a 320TB rated endurance with a three-year warranty.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Crucial MX200 (250 GB, 500 GB & 1TB) Review

Thank you to Corsair for providing us with an AX1200i PSU. The AX1200i was the first power supply to offer digital control and management via Corsair's Link system, but under the hood it commands a 1200W rating at 50C with 80 PLUS Platinum certification. This allows for a minimum 89-92% efficiency at 115V and 90-94% at 230V. The AX1200i is completely modular, running the larger 200mm design, with a dual ball bearing 140mm fan to assist high-performance use. The AX1200i is designed to be a workhorse, with up to 8 PCIe connectors for suitable four-way GPU setups. The AX1200i also comes with a Zero RPM mode for the fan, which due to the design allows the fan to be switched off when the power supply is under 30% load.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Corsair AX1500i Power Supply Review

Thank you to G.Skill for providing us with memory. G.Skill has been a long-time supporter of AnandTech over the years, for testing beyond our CPU and motherboard memory reviews. We've reported on their high capacity and high-frequency kits, and every year at Computex G.Skill holds a world overclocking tournament with liquid nitrogen right on the show floor.

Further Reading: AnandTech's Memory Scaling on Haswell Review, with G.Skill DDR3-3000

Navigating the X299 Minefield: Kaby Lake-X Support Benchmark Overview


View All Comments

  • Santoval - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    That is not how IPC works, since it explicitly refers to single core - single thread performance. As the number of cores rises the performance of a *single* task never scales linearly because there is always some single thread code involved (Amdahl's law). For example if your task has 90% parallel and 10% serial code its performance will max out at x10 that of a single core at ~512 cores. From then on even if you had a CPU with infinite cores you couldn't extract half an ounce of additional performance. If your code was 95% parallel the performance of your task would plateau at x20. For that though you would need ~2048 cores. And so on.

    Of course Amdahl's law does not provide a complete picture. It assumes, for example, that your task and its code will remain fixed no matter how many cores you add on them. And it disregards the possibility of computing distinct tasks in parallel on separate cores. That's where Gustafson's Law comes in. This "law" is not concerned with speeding up the performance of tasks but computing larger and more complex tasks at the same amount of time.

    An example given in Wikipedia involves boot times : Amdahl's law states that you can speed up the boot process, assuming it can be made largely parallel, up to a certain number of cores. Beyond that -when you become limited by the serial code of your bootloader- adding more cores does not help. Gustafson's law, on the contrary, states that instead of speeding up the boot process by adding more cores and computing resources, you could add colorful GUIs, increase the resolution etc, while keeping the boot time largely the same. This idea could be applied to many -but not all- computing tasks, for example ray tracing (for more photorealistic renderings) and video encoding (for smaller files or videos with better quality), and many other heavily multi-threaded tasks.
  • Rickyxds - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    I just agree XD. Reply
  • Diji1 - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    "Overall speed increase 240%."

    LMAO. Ridiculous.
  • Alistair - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    No reason to laugh. I compared the 6600k vs the Ryzen 1700. 1 year speed increase of 144 percent (2.44 times the speed). Same as this: 1135 vs 466 points.

  • Dr. Swag - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    I disagree, best value is 1600 as it oces as well as 1600x, comes with a decent stock cooler, and is cheaper. Reply
  • vext - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Interesting article but it seems intended to play down the extremely bad press x299 has received which is all over the internet and Youtube.

    Once you get past Mr. Cuttress' glowing review, it's clear that the I5-7640x is not worth the money because of lackluster performance, the I7-7740X is marginally faster than the older 7700k, and the I7-7800x is regularly beaten by the 7740X in many benchmarks that actually count and is a monstrously inefficient energy pig. Therefore the only Intel CPUs of this batch worth buying are the 7700k/7740x, and there is no real advantage to x299. In summary, it doesn't actually change anything.

    It's very telling that Mr. Cutress doesn't comment on the absolutely egregious energy consumption of the 7800x. The Test Bed setup section doesn't list the 7800x at all. The 7840x and 7740x are using a Thermalright True Copper (great choice!) but no info on the 7800x cooler. Essentially, the 7800x cameo appearance is only to challenge the extremely strong Ryzen multi-threaded results, but its negative aspects are not discussed, perhaps because it might frighten people from x299. Tsk, tsk. As my 11 year old daughter would say "No Fair." By the way, the 7800x is selling for ~ $1060 right now on Newegg, not $389.

    Proudly typed on my Ryzen 1800x/Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3. # ;-)
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    You may not have realised but this is the Kaby Lake-X review, so it focuses on the KBL-X parts. We already have a Skylake-X review for you to mull over. There are links on the first page. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Nevertheless, the wider picture is relevant here. The X299 platform is a mess. Intel is aiming KL-X at a market which doesn't exist, they've locked out features that actually make it useful, it's more power hungry, and a consumer needs a lot of patience and plenty of coffee to work out what the heck works and what doesn't on a mbd with a KL-X fitted.

    This is *exactly* the sort of criticism of Intel which should have been much stronger in the tech journalism space when Intel started pulling these sorts of stunts back with the core-crippled 3930K, heat-crazy IB and PCIe-crippled 5820K. Instead, except for a few exceptions, the tech world has been way too forgiving of Intel's treading-on-water attitude ever since SB, and now they've panicked in response to Ryzen and released a total hodgebodge of a chipset and CPU lineup which makes no sense at all. And if you get any disagreement about what I've said by anyone at Intel, just wave a 4820K in their face and say well explain this then (quad-core chip with 40 PCIe lanes, da daa!).

    I've been a big fan of Z68 and X79, but nothing about Intel's current lineup appeals in the slightest.
  • serendip - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    There's also the funny bit about motherboards potentially killing KBL-X CPUs if a Skylake-X was used previously.

    What's with Intel's insane product segmentation strategy with all the crippling and inconsistent motherboard choices? It's like they want to make it hard to choose, so buyers either get the cheapest or most expensive chip.
  • Haawser - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    'EmergencyLake-X' is just generally embarrassing. Intel should just find a nearby landfill site and quietly bury it. Reply

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