** Update after a series of requests we have removed all related MSI content from this article at the request of Intel.
Welcome to our Intel Sandy Bridge-E and X79 platform preview, a product series to be released in November. It's a bit of a weird article to write alright as both the architecture behind the X79 chipset and the Sandy Bridge-E processors really (initially) were intended for the server platform, but somehow is finding its way towards the consumer channel.
Intel launched the P67/Z68 chipsets and accompanying four core Sandy Bridge processors like the Core i5 2500, Core i7 2600 and soon to be released Core i7 2700 as mainstream products. That meant that the enthusiast segment had a gap that needed to be filled as X58 with a Gulftown processor like the 980X/990X is already two-three years old. That's where Sandy Bridge-E and X79 come into play. Make no mistake as I'll say it again, this is a preview... the products have not yet been launched.
The actual release of Sandy Bridge-E is somewhat to market... and as such all manufacturers designed and then redesigned the current series 6 chipset like P67 and Z68. Combined with a processor like the Core i7 2600K, well it just blows your mind away in terms of how good it is in performance.
The biggest competitor for Sandy-Bridge-E, believe it or not, is the X58 platform released in 2008 (!), pop a nice Core i7 980X/990X on there and the raw performance is still flabbergasting. Anno 2011; one could say that X58/980X (Gulftown) and Z68/2600K (Sandy Bridge) are products that might have been a little too good.
Today however, an article showing some Sandy Bridge-E and X79 motherboard information. It's going to be an update to the true high-end six-core processor series aimed at consumers. A processor based on 32nm technology that comes with most of the bells and whistles we have learned to like and love of the current Sandy Bridge processor generation.
Three processors will be released soon; two Sandy Bridge-E CPUs will have six cores, one model four cores, hyper-threaded to either eight or twelve threads, the AVX instruction set, a 130W TDP. Then there's of course that overclocking potential that Sandy Bridge offers, it could make this platform downright impressive.
Impressive yes, but sure there are obstacles as well, the processor needs a new motherboard as it comes on a new processor socket, LGA 2011. That means reinvesting in a new high-end motherboard probably costing 200~300 EUR, and then investing in a new Sandy-Bridge-E processor which is probably going to cost you a steep 900 EUR for the most high-end model (which we will use today).
This is a generoc preview, no details/specs/hardware has been shared by Intel, and no information that hasn't already been out there is being published. All specs you will see are based on what we heard, not on what we have been able to confirm with Intel -- capiche?
Anyway, head on over to the next page where we'll discuss Sandy-Bridge-E processors, the respective models. We'll also have a chat about the X79 chipset.
Next page please.