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

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Test Setup and SiSoft SANDRA

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported frequency for the given platform. SSDs were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed.


G-SKILL Quad-Channel DDR3-1866 Memory Installed on the Intel DX79SI "Siler" Motherboard

When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, cleared temp and prefetch data, and ran the tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
Intel Core i7-3690X
(3.33GHz - Hex-Core)

Asus P9X79 Deluxe
MSI X79A-GD65 (8D)
ASRock X79 Extreme4
Intel DX79SI (Siler)
(X79 Express Chipset)

4x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1600MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 2:
Intel Core i5-2700K
(3.3GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus P8Z68-A Pro
(Z68 Express Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1333MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 3:
Intel Core i7-990X
(3.43GHz Hex-Core)

Gigabyte EX58-UD4
(X58 Express Chipset)

3x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1333MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

System 4:
AMD FX-8150
(3.6GHz Eight-Core)

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1866MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2012
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2011, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2012 suite with Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPU running at its default settings, with Turbo enabled, and with 16GB of RAM running in quad-channel mode on the Intel DX79SI "Siler" X79 Express-based motherboard.


Processor Arithmetic


Processor Multimedia


Memory Bandwidth


Cache and Memory


The new Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition had absolutely no trouble besting all of the reference systems in SANDRA's database of scores. In terms of integer and floating-point performance, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition leads all other desktop processors and its peak memory bandwidth is equally as impressive. With a quad-channel setup, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition / X79 combo offered up over 37GB/s of memory bandwidth, besting the previous champ--the Gulftown-based Core i7 / X58 Express triple-channel combo--by over 10GB/s.


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