Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E CPU - HotHardware

Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Sandy Bridge-E CPU

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Performance Summary: The Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition is the fastest desktop processor we have tested to date, bar none. In all of our multi-threaded benchmarks, the higher Turbo Boost frequencies and additional compute resources of the six-core Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition allowed it to easily overtake every other processor we tested, including the six-core Core i7-990X and pseudo eight-core AMD FX-8150. In our single and dual-threaded tests, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition also offered excellent performance and outpaced every other processor, save for the Core i7-2700K which features a similar microarchitecture and peak Turbo Boost frequencies. The Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition also proved to be an excellent overclocker.


Intel Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme Processor Packaging

 

Intel will initially be releasing two Sandy Bridge-E based desktop processors, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition we featured here and the slightly lower-clocked Core i7-3930K. Both of the processors are unlocked for more flexible overclocking, and they both feature six cores (12 threads), 130W TDPs, and quad-channel memory controllers. The Core i7-3930K, however, is outfitted with “only” 12MB of L3 cache, whereas the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition has 15MB, and the Core i7-3930K’s base and peak Turbo Boost frequencies are 100MHz lower. As such, the Core i7-3930K will be somewhat more affordable at $555, while the flagship Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition will command $990. As has always been the case with top-of-the-line desktop processors, you’ll have to pay to play with the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition. A higher clocked quad-core variant with 10MB of L3 cache is also coming at some point in Q1 of next year.


Intel Desktop Processor Line-Up

Put simply, the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition is the most powerful desktop processor available on the market. Period. When paired to its companion X79 Express chipset, the two make for the most potent foundation of a desktop system yet, whether it be for gaming, content creation or productivity. Even so, there are still a couple of execution cores lying dormant in the processor which will likely be unleashed at some point in the future, when / if Intel re-spins the chip to tame its power requirements. Considering how powerful the platform is now, we shudder to think what the next version of SBE will do, if Intel takes that route, of course. And why wouldn't they?

  • Killer Performance
  • 6 Cores / 12 Threads
  • 40 PCI Express Lanes
  • Highly Overclockable
  • PCI Express 3.0 Ready
  • Insane Memory Bandwidth
  • Turbo Boost 2.0

  • Uber-Expensive
  • High Power Consumption when Overclocked
  • No Included Cooler
  • Another New Socket

 

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Nice review Marco... I wouldn't say that it's the fastest though; reading all of those charts, it's only marginally faster then the 990X, I was expecting it to blow it out of the water with it's 32nm manufacturing process and all... I'm still holding out for Ivy Bridge as the die shrink equals up to major performance increases and less heat... I mean 91 degrees on an Asetek cooler? If a processor can do that when overclocked (assuming you didn't put in a second fan for a push/pull configuration) then imagine what Ivy Bridge with it's 6 cores and it's 22nm could do when overclocked... It is surprising that an i7-2600K can keep up with the "fastest processor around".

It's also ironic that a processor like this is priced at $699.99. Compared to the 990x, that is a ridiculous steal... I'm guessing that the $1,000 pricetag will belong to the 8-core version though... Can't mark out that price range for Intel...

As far as the motherboards provided... I'd say that the ASUS and ASRock boards are anybodies good choice. Don't get me wrong, the MSI is good but ASUS and ASRock has the features that the enthusiasts want. Plus they are respectable brands and have much more of a community presence then MSI has... Don't know what the prices are for all of them but I'm guessing they'll be reasonably priced?

Anyway, great review... While I was expecting it to blow it out of the water, what we got was good enough... I'm still holding out for Ivy Bridge though, not wild about Sandy Bridge-E. Those that are wild about it will not be disappointed.

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Great review! I was very impressed with new i7 3960X and little fast than i7 990X. I know Intel i7 990X price will drop little while new flagship i7 3960X at $1000.00. And I enjoyed to read the review about new i7 Extreme Edition based on SBE. It make me wish to have that in next build. One thing is I am looking forward to read some reviews soon.

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Thanks for the great reviews as usual. I finally had the opportunity to read through the entire thing this morning. The multi-threaded performance is quite impressive but I feel the single threaded performance has left a bit to be desired even if it still beats the other processors. At this point I am not sure if it is worth spending $300 dollars extra on the 3930 from a 2700K the extreme processors have always been out of most peoples price ranges.

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Awesome review marco, great work. Not much else to add to the discussion, it's a beast and performs like one too. A lot of impressive features and the days of a 32gig of ram standard aren't that far off! Can't wait to see some of the other goodies that come along with this release.

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Good to read this review! Good to keep informed!Yes

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gazd1:
Good to read this review! Good to keep informed!Yes

Hey!!

How come there's not someone instantly agreeing with your post?

 

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realneil:

gazd1:
Good to read this review! Good to keep informed!Yes

Hey!!

How come there's not someone instantly agreeing with your post?

"LMFAO, @realneil, its usually gazd1 who comments first , then gloriad1 agreeing a while later, that's how it works. Its coming,  wait for it. LOL." 

 

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realneil:

Hey!!

How come there's not someone instantly agreeing with your post?

Yeah... Where is gloriad1 anyway?

Side note, I'd like to think that gloriad1 is gazd's sockpuppet account; I mean all she mainly does is tell gazd1 that he's right. Sort of like Mr. Garrison and Mr. Hat from South Park.

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TaylorKarras:
sockpuppet account

SNORT!

I lost Pepsi through my nose when I read that,.........

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It looks like Intel has once again secured their place at the top of the performance pile, but again at a premium price ...

I don't really see too much appealing from a price/performance standpoint to the newer chips over the I-7 K series processors.  I guess if you're wanting the best of the best, the price won't matter, but this is definitely not a mainstream CPU, and not one I'll be able to afford any time soon.

 

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