Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition
Posted on: 11/13/2011 11:38 PM
Today Intel takes the next step in the evolution of their Sandy Bridge architecture, as they push the 32nm design process to the limits with a 2.27 billion transistor architecture featuring up to 6 cores and 12 threads. Codenamed Sandy Bridge-E, users can expect the most powerful desktop processors Intel has ever developed...
The Sandy Bridge-E microarchitecture calls for an entirely new socket design, as even the LGA1136 doesnít provide enough contacts. Instead the new LGA2011 socket will support these latest Intel processors and with it comes the ability to utilize technologies such as quad-channel DDR3 memory.
When compared to previous generation Sandy Bridge processors, the new LGA2011 models have been beefed up. The on-die graphics solution has been dropped and in its place processors such as the flagship model Core i7-3960X boasts a massive 15MB L3 cache, 6-cores, quad-channel DDR3-1600 memory support and will operate with a base clock of 3.3GHz.
Intel will also be releasing a cut down version of the Core i7-3960X called the Core i7-3930K, which will feature a slightly smaller 12MB L3 cache with a base clock of 3.2GHz. In terms of pricing the Core i7-3930K should be over 40% cheaper than the Core i7-3960X, as it has an MSRP of $555 opposed to $990.
Finally there will also be a Core i7-3820, which is a partially unlocked processor with a base clock of 3.6GHz. This model will feature just 4 cores with 8 threads, along with a smaller 10MB L3 cache. When compared to the existing Core i7-2600K, the Core i7-3820 will be 200MHz faster and feature a 2MB larger L3 cache, so it will be interesting to see how those two compare in terms of pricing and performance.
Unfortunately for todayís launch Intel has only provided the Core i7-3960X model, so we will be unable to look at the Core i7-3820 just yet, moreover pricing information has not been released. Instead today we will be looking at what is technically possible from the LGA2011 platform. Even though this is a premium platform, the majority of users that do invest in it will favor the more affordable Core i7-3930K processor.
That said, at $555 US there is no current AMD or Intel processor that will rival it, as the Core i7-980 will be no match at $580 US and the FX-8150 doesnít even register at $270 US. Before the arrival of Sandy Bridge-E we believed that the Core i7-2600K was the best value high-performance processor, so we will be focusing on how the Core i7-3960X compares.
Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/intel_core_i7_3960x_extreme_edition_,1.html)