Sandy Bridge-E and X79 preview

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Final words and conclusion


Final words and conclusion

Multiple Sandy Bridge-E reviews have already hit the web, we simply followed yet leave out performance results.

We removed all photo's and content related to MSI from this article hence you are lacking 5 pages worth of eye-candy. This is at the request of Intel. Weirdly enough ..  the photo's shown from IDF and Computex on X79 apparantly are not a problem.

Anyway, that's all intended for the final launch review released roughly mid November. With that said, the Sandy Bridge-E platform will be a power-house and it is bound to set some new records.

In contrast to say Z68 and a Core i7 2600K processor, I'll probably hesitate a little to really recommend Sandy Bridge-E. See, it will require a new (expensive) motherboard and a new processor for which the top model is gonna cost you anywhere from 700 to 900 EUR (though that's unconfirmed). So that difference might be a little too much versus what you gain features and performance wise.

Intel's six-core processors will likely be as fast a lightning strike (in a very positive way of course), it's just seriously fast stuff, but again, nothing out of the ordinary compared to say a Core i7 980X/990X. The dynamic changes once you start to overclock though, as that 5 GHz... took merely a few minutes to set up, verify and monitor. The potential there looks to be much better then Gulftown.

My biggest worry is X79, we definitely do like the extra PCIe lanes, yet we are still puzzled about PCIe Gen 3 compatibility. Let's just hope it will get supported with the final launch.

Per core performance looks to be really nice, the Turbo kicks in nicely. So for the professional user who uses heavily threaded software like content creation, there's where Sandy Bridge-E will make a difference. Add to that Quad-channel memory with near silly bandwidth and plenty of PCIe lanes and you'll have a platform that will be hard to beat.

The Intel X79 chipset by all means is sufficient, but just that. We expected more, PCIe gen 3, SATA3 ports and native USB 3.0 amongst others. We do wonder though what the lifespan will be, how interesting is this platform with Intel's Ivy Bridge slowly arriving on the horizon? Face it, X58 with Gulftown is still rocking it ever since 2008.

Regardless of how you might look at Sandy Bridge-E, it seems to be a ridiculously fast platform. With the final boards we expect to see some very interesting overclock results as well. Once the true overclockers have their hands on it, new records will be shattered.

All in all, this article is just a little preview of what's to come in Q4 2011. The Sandy Bridge-E performance is impressive, but not that different to X58/Gulftown if you leave overclocking out of the equation. If you are the proud owner of a P67/Z68 and a Core i7 2600K, you really probably will not miss out on much either, unless you really need two more cores of course.

In closing this preview, we think that the Core i7-3930K will be the most interesting product in terms of price versus tweaking. Exciting times are ahead of us, but Sandy Bridge-E is looking to be merely a half way station in-between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. But once we are able to publish the final launch review, we can define a richer conclusion.

More on all this once the platform launches, of course.

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