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Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2697 v2 or Intel® Core™ i7-4960X?

Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2697 v2: 24 threads, 2.7-3.5GHz, 30MB SmartCache, 22nm.
Intel® Core™ i7-4960X: 12 threads, 3.6-4GHz, 15MB SmartCache, 22nm.

Straight of the bat, you would say Intel® Xeon® is better. But if I look at frequencies, I'm not sure anymore.

Which is "powerfuller"? Xeon or i7? In given case.

It's impossible to answer your question as asked because the benefits of cores versus clock speed are situational. What's the average use case of the intended machine?

Even more important is the interconnect bus. That controls how fast and efficiently data moves between the CPU and RAM, secondary cache, etc.

It's impossible to answer your question as asked because the benefits of cores versus clock speed are situational.

Which is "powerfuller"? Xeon or i7? In given case.

...

Even more important is the interconnect bus. That controls how fast and efficiently data moves between the CPU and RAM, secondary cache, etc.

Apparently I'm not able to find it. Both have 59.7 GB/s brandwith.

Well, according to the scores on cpu benchmarks, we have this:

CPU                              -  Score   -  Price
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 @ 2.70GHz  -  17,516  -  $2,579.99
Intel Core i7-4960X @ 3.60GHz    -  14,022  -  $1,048.99

So, that should answer the question on which on is the best, at least as far there could ever be a single number to represent that (which is a big assumption, since it can depend a lot on the typical use and the rest of the computer, especially RAM). But, you should also keep in mind the price difference too. Is a 25% increase in performance worth a 250% increase in price?

So, that should answer the question on which on is the best

Yes, you indeed answered the question. But it also had "additional" question in it. Rather than that I'd like to ask you a question.

What would you prefer (please also explain why, if I can request that):

  • CPU_1; 8 logical cores; 3GHz each
  • CPU_2; 6 logical cores; 4GHz each
  • CPU_3; 48 logical cores; 0.5GHz each

Now, CPU_3's performance would be ridiculously low, I don't think it can operate correctly to everyday user. So we can opt that out, we know it's relative performance would be weaker than the others two. And here's the riddle which is better than another, CPU_1 or CPU_2?

I know that company, RAM and cache matters, but imagine that any other specifications that are not specified above, are exactly same in both processors.

Assuming entire PC is exactly same and the CPU would be only object that would change.

Obviously, the first step is to multiply the number of cores by the frequency, e.g., 8 cores x 3 GHz = 24GHz and 6 cores x 4 GHz = 24GHz. That gives you a rough approximation of how the two CPUs compare to each other in terms of total number of instructions per second.

Then, you generally give a little bonus to the CPU with the higher number of cores because it will have more overall L1 cache (because it's per-core cache). And also because it has less congestion (too many programs / threads executing on the same core) than the one with fewer cores.

By those two very crude measures, the CPU_1 would be the better one.

Then, you have to check which generation of CPU it is. In recent years, most of the innovation in CPU technology has gone into various sophisticated optimizations in the technology, rather than just "more cores, more cache, higher freq.". Things like pre-fetching, branch prediction, concurrent instructions and out-of-order execution, and so on, are all things that have been improving a lot and affect performance a lot. Because the reality is that even if a CPU can execute a huge number of instructions per second, most programs spend most of their cpu-bound execution-time suspending the instruction pipeline for things like cache misses and flushing or rolling-back instructions after mispredicted branches. So, these kinds of innovations in CPU tech. are very important and are much harder to measure or assess. So, at least, you can say that you can only try to compare two CPUs by number of cores and by freq. only if they have the same technology / generation.

These days, comparing CPUs by freq. and cores is about the same as comparing car engines by number of cylinders and volume. It is, at best, a rough approximation, but unless there's a huge margin between them, you will have to consider other factors.

And at the end of the day, the only way to know the performance of a CPU is through benchmark testing. And the really tricky part is coming up with benchmarks that are representative of the typical user's usage profile.

A lot of benchmarks are centered around the question of "how fast will my computer graphics games be able to run?", which are high on CPU instructions, low on concurrency, and generally use a lot of optimizations and advanced instruction sets to squeeze out as much performance as possible. Although this might not represent all typical use, it is certainly a good test for the CPU and memory bus performance.

There are also many benchmarks for server applications, which are mostly low on CPU usage, high on concurrency, and use a lot of memory (RAM and HDD). So, that doesn't really test your CPU as much, but rather the overall integration, which is more important for servers.

I'm not sure there are many benchmarks for the average person's usage profile (browse, work, multimedia, some light gaming, etc.). But I think that if your computer scores decently on pure CPU benchmarks and also on server-oriented benchmarks, then you will be in pretty good shape as an "average" user (and by "decently" I mean, that it ranks good on the scales relative to how much it costs).

Then, you generally give a little bonus to the CPU with the higher number of cores because it will have more overall L1 cache (because it's per-core cache). And also because it has less congestion (too many programs / threads executing on the same core) than the one with fewer cores. By those two very crude measures, the CPU_1 would be the better one.

This is answer to second "hidden" question of "Core or frequencies?", apparently core.

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