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

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Sandy Bridge-E Coolers and Memory

Cooling: Although Intel will be producing a standard air cooler that resembles the circular units offered with Gulftown and earlier high-end processors, a self-contained liquid cooling system was included with our test kit. The Intel Active Thermal Solution RTS2011LC, as it is known, is produced by Asetek and is compatible with Intel Core processors for LGA2011 / 1366 / 1155 / 1156 sockets. Please note, however, Intel WILL NOT be including a cooler with boxed Sandy Bridge-E based processors. Because they are targeted at enthusiasts, Intel believes users will be likely to want a high-end thermal solution and are not bundling the chips with basic coolers as they have done in the past. 

The Intel Active Thermal Solution RTS2011LC

The RTS2011LC features a custom designed 120mmx25mm fan (74 CFM, 21 dBA@ 800 RPM, 35 dBA@ 2200 RPM), a 150mm x 118mm x 37mm radiator, a high efficiency cooler block, and a new heat exchanger design that differed from other Asetek LCLC solutions. According to Intel, at equivalent acoustic levels and at full processor power (130W) the RTS2011LC can achieve a 7°C cooler CPU core temperature than Intel’s highest performance air cooling thermal solution. In addition, the RTS2011LC runs 10 dBA quieter than the high performance air cooling solution when running in performance mode.

We found the RTS2011LC to be relatively easy to install and performance and acoustics were relatively good. The installation on an LGA2011 motherboard requires little more than properly positioning a retention ring around the base and securing it in place with four thumbscrews. Then the radiator and fan assembly gets mounted in an available fan location using some screws, and that’s it.

Memory: To coincide with the release of Sandy Bridge-E and the X79 chipset, a number of Intel’s memory partners are at the ready with quad-channel memory kits optimized for the new platform. We got our hands on a couple of kits from G.SKILL and Corsair and have them pictured for you below.

G.SKILL RipJaws Z F3-14900CLQ9-16GBZL Quad-Channel DDR3-1866 Memory Kit

Intel has also defined a new Extreme Memory Profile (XMP 1.3) specification, for easy optimization and overclocking. The G.SKILL RipJaws Z memory kit you see here consists of four, 4GB, DDR3-1866 sticks of memory (total 16GB), model number F3-14900CLQ9-16GBZL. The sticks run at only 1.5v with CL9-10-9-28 timings, and are XMP 1.3 compatible. This is the memory kit we used for all of our SBE testing, on four different motherboards, and it ran perfectly throughout.

Corsair CMZ16GX3M4X18666C9R Quad-Channel Memory Kit

Corsair CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9 Quad-Channel Memory Kit

Corsair will also be offering a number of Sandy Bridge-E / X79 optimized memory kits, two of which are pictured above. Both of the kits you see here are 16GB, quad-channel offerings, consisting of four, 4GB DIMMs. The black kit is model number CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9 and the red kit is CMZ16GX3M4X18666C9R. As their model names imply, the black kit is rated for operation at 1600MHz and the red at 1866MHz. Both kits require 1.5v, but the black kit will run at CL9-9-9-24 timings, while the red is rated for CL9-10-9-27.

Finally, we just wanted to show you one other G.SKILL memory kit that just arrived in the lab. This is a 1866MHz G.SKILL Sniper branded kit that we used in our AMD Bulldozer based test bed, for reference testing.

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