|Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 14 November 2011|
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Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU Review
Manufacturer: Intel Corporation
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Intel.
Intel's "Extreme Edition" CPUs have always represented the company's top consumer offerings. Typically priced in the $1,000 range, they have unlocked multipliers, lots of cache, and lots of cores. But until now, Intel's top Extreme Edition offering, the Core i7-990X CPU, was based on the older Gulftown architecture, and the performance gap between this CPU and the newer Sandy Bridge architecture Core i7-2600K and 2700K is pretty damn narrow, especially considering that the latter costs less than a third the price of the former. But now Intel's made a Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition, with six physical cores and a staggering 15 megabytes of cache. Benchmark Reviews takes the new Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU around the benchmark course, testing it against the best CPUs Intel and AMD have to offer.
Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, especially the Core i5-2500K and the Core i7-2600K, set very high performance bars when they were introduced in early 2011. The new architecture significantly increased the instructions per clock (i.e. they were faster at the same clock speed than older CPUs), and the 32nm fabrication process enabled amazing overclocks, with 4.6GHz and higher frequencies being easily obtainable with air cooling. A 2600K CPU will beat a 980X CPU in several benchmarks, and the older CPU only really dominates in heavily threaded applications that can make use of its extra cores.
So now we have a hex-core Sandy Bridge processor and new X79 Express chipset to support it.