Intel Core i7-6950X 10-Core CPU Review: Broadwell-E Takes Flight

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Core i7-6950X -- The Final Verdict

Performance Summary: The Broadwell-E based Core i7-6950X is an absolute monster. The processor’s additional cores and cache versus previous generation chips, in addition to its support for faster memory and Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, give the Core i7-6950X huge advantages over the Haswell-E based Core i7-5960X it supplants at the top of Intel’s enthusiast line-up. The Core i7-6950X’s additional cores gave it an obvious edge in multi-threaded workloads, but the processor also significantly outpaced the 5960X in single or lightly-threaded tests. The higher-clocked Skylake-based Core i7-6700K was faster than the 6950X in a few corner case scenarios, however.

broadwell e box
Intel Core i7 Extreme Processor - Find It At Amazon

The Core i7-6950X is not the only Broadwell-E based processor Intel has coming down the pipeline. There are four new processors due to arrive soon, including 6, 8, and 10 core options, at wildly different operating frequencies and price points. Here’s the breakdown…

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Initial Broadwell-E Line-Up -- Click To Enlarge

The six-core Core i7-6800K, with base and boost clocks of 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz, respectively, will arrive at a price point of around $434. The next step up – the $617 Core i7-6850K – also has six cores, but it will offer the highest clocks of the bunch, with its 3.6GHz base and 3.8GHz boost clocks. And then there’s the eight-core 3.2GHz/3.7GHz Core i7-6900K at $1089, followed by the $1723 Core i7-6950X we showed you here. Needless to say, Intel has done some “tweaking” to its pricing structure with this generation of Extreme Edition processors. The previous-generation Core i7-5960X arrived at the traditional $999 price point of flagship desktop processors, but the Core i7-6950X ups that number by over 70%. The Core i7-6950X is a much faster, more advanced product than the 5960X, but there’s no two ways about it – the chip is uber-pricey.

In terms of its performance and power characteristics, the Core i7-6950X is dominant. It’s clearly faster than anything else on the market with multi-threaded workloads, and single-thread performance is significantly improved as well. Power consumption is higher than the previous-gen under load due to its additional processing resources, but performance has scaled up accordingly as well. These new chips are also drop-in upgrades for socket 2011 v3-based systems. Strictly looking at performance and features, we can’t help but dig Broadwell-E and the Core i7-6950X. We just wish pricing was more in-line with Intel's previous generation flagship chips.

  • Killer Multi-Thread Performance
  • Huge Cache
  • Turbo Boost Max 3.0
  • Super Pricey
  • Relatively Low Clocks
  • Lower Single Thread Perf In Some Tests

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