3DMark 11 is a graphics benchmark. The reason why the results are so markedly different is because on Extreme settings the GPU becomes the bottleneck, equalizing CPU performance. On Performance, the CPU are the bottlenecks and that's where the results delineate. I'm not sure why HH tested with Extreme, as they're usually a fairly reliable review site, but perhaps they're not used to testing CPUs. Some amount of random deviation accounts for the differences in results from different websites, but the main reason is because of different testing methodologies. Different sites will use different methods with different system setups with different programs. Some of the testing methodologies, like the HH example given above, are erroneous or unmeaningful. Generally for CPU benchmarks you want to look at tests with a) base clocks, b) mix of multi and single threaded apps, and c) minimum setting game benchmarks. I chose the HC example previously because HC has testing methodology down pat for both CPU and GPU, always testing for the most relevant areas.
I was talking specifically about the tests they ran on the CPU, with 3d Mark they usually only look at the Physics scores to see how well the CPU does, but when tested at Extreme this seems to even the results favouring the Bulldozer by putting it closer to the i7, at first glance I coudn't see that. But when I looked again more closely I could see that it is getting 1782 points in a physics test where my Phenom II X4 965BE was getting around 4000 I started wondering why, this is one of those things that I had been missing, I usually look at the results and assume that the tests were conducted in a fair, open and honest way, but it looks like some sites are cherry picking results to make the Bulldozer look better than it really is and not, as I was thinking, doing it the other way round to favour the competition. Before I noticed this I did notice how the scores on Hardware Heaven had the i7 getting 1762 and the Bulldozer was at 1782 all I saw was a 20 point difference, which is close right? Then on the Hardware Canucks the Bulldozer is behind by a shade under 2000 points, why? Because they ran the test at Performance settings and I guess I really wanted the Hardware Heaven site to be right, but I don't think you can put a difference as big as 4600+ points down to random deviation, and SlasherMan has already tried to point out how some of the findings on Hardware Heaven were not
@SlasherMan: I now see why you think we should disregard the Hardware Heaven tests, their approach is flawed and inconsistent when examined in the context of how other sites have tested the same products. I'm just glad I'm not in a hurry to buy a CPU at the moment, my rig is running fine as it is and I was not planning any upgrades until after Ivy Bridge hits the shelves, there was a time when I would have seen the Hardware Heaven review and then just bought the CPU.