Core i7 3960X processor and MSI X79A-GD65 review -
In the weeks to come you are going to hear a lot about Sandy Bridge-E, it's the all new 'enhanced' slash 'enthusiast' version of what pretty much is the Sandy Bridge (Core i7 2600K) architecture, yet with some new features added and some others stripped away.
Simply put, you take all the good ingredients from Sandy Bridge, preferably add two more cores, a slightly increased L3 cache and add a pinch of quad-channel memory. There is one exception to the rule, one Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E CPU that will remain a quad-core processor.
There's also something else missing, though we doubt a little that you'd miss it in this enthusiast grade segment. A change in the architecture is that Sandy Bridge-E doesnt have an on-die graphics processor built into the architecture. So if you are dependant on QuickSync as a feature then please stick to a 1st generation Sandy Bridge 2300/2400/2500/2600 series processor.
Now if you look at the die for a second with me, do you noitice it as well ? Yep, it seems that the new architecure is in fact an 8-core design with two cores disabled.
Intel will have a lot of flexibility in their hands alright. In this first wave Intel is going to release three Sandy Bridge-E class processors, namely the Core i7-3960X, the Core i7-3930K, and the Core i7-3820. Each will have different clock frequencies and a slightly changed L3 cache. The Core i7-3820 is a quad core processor, the other two are six-core processors.
Below, an overview of the main specs.
||Max. Turbo Clock
||Cores / Threads
||L1 Cache||L2 Cache||L3 Cache||Memory||Interface||TDP|
|Core i7-3960X||3.3 GHz||3.9 GHz||6/12||64KB x6||256KB x6||15 MB||Quad-channel
|LGA 2011||130 W|
|Core i7-3930K||3.2 GHz||3.8 GHz||6/12||64KB x6||256KB x6||12 MB||Quad-channel
|LGA 2011||130 W|
|Core i7-3820||3.6 GHz||3.9 GHz||4/8||64KB x4||256KB x4||10 MB||Quad-channel
|LGA 2011||130 W|
|Core i7-2600K||3.4 GHz||3.8 GHz||4/8||64KB x4||256KB x4||8 MB||Dual-channel
|LGA 1155||95 W|
What's interesting from a naming point of view is that Intel chooses three different suffixes for the processors, we have an X model, a K model and a 'normal' model. A little confusing, but it does make some sense:
- The X suffix is Intels Extreme Edition processors, this means the top-of-the-line unlocked processors.
- The K suffix denotes a slightly lower end processor yet with its multiplier unlocked.
- And the normal editions are pretty much mainstream without any enthusiast grade overclock options, meaning a locked multiplier.
Cache wise the L1 and L2 caches are 100% similar to Sandy Bridge:
- 32KB data and a 32KB instruction L1 cache per physical core.
- 256KB L2 cache per core.
The L3 cache then, Sandy Bridge has one 2 MB slice of L3 cache per core, that's 8 MB for say the 2600K processor. The Core i7-3960X tested in this article has 15MB of L3 cache, meaning 2.5 MB per core (it's a single block of cache as it's shared).
All three processors will have a 130W TDP, quite similar to the original six-core Gulftown based Core i7 980X. We had hoped to see a lower TDP with the original Sandy Bridge processors being so energy efficient.
Today an article covering the Core i7 4960X (Ivy Bridge-E) on a X79 based motherboard. Intel's most high-end processors just got updated with a high-end six-core processor series aimed at consumers.
Core i7 4820K processor review
In this review we test the new four-core Core i7 4820K Ivy Bridge-E processor. This is the only quad-core IBE processor that Intel will release. But it is unlocked and as such direct competition for the Core i7 4770K.
Core i7 4770K processor review
We review the Core i7 4770K processor. The new processors family should be a notch faster, get improved graphics performance and be more energy efficient. Will the Haswell be the processor series everything you expected? Go find out in this extensive review here at Guru3D.
Core i7 3770K review with Z77
We review the Core i7 3770K Ivy bridge processors alongside Intel's Z77 motherboard. Will Ivy Bridge be the processor series everything you expected? Go find out in this extensive review here at Guru3D.