|Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 13 November 2011|
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Intel Core i7-3960X Features
The following information is courtesy of Intel
Intel (SKU) Specifications
It's getting confusing in Intel-land, with the "Core i7" brand now straddling no fewer than three platforms: LGA1155, LGA1366, and now LGA2011. The LGA2011 group initially comprises three processors, two of which are available now, and one scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. I've added the current top of the LGA1155 line, the Core i7-2700K, for comparison.
As you can see, the new LGA2011 CPUs are all quite similar, with differences in cache, cores, and "unlockability" being the main differences. All require new motherboards with the X79 chipset, and all of them boast Intel's new Turbo Boost 2.0 technology (introduced with the original Sandy Bridge processors). In the case of the Core i7-3960X, this means a boost of up to 300MHz when five or more cores are under load, and to 600MHz when fewer than five cores are under load.
And just in case you're wondering: yes, X79 motherboards again change the spacing of the cooler mounting holes, so you'll need either a new cooler or an adapter for your existing cooler. This is understandable, though, since the new chip is absolutely gigantic, at 52.5 x 45mm. The picture below shows a Core i5-2500K on the left and a Core i7-3960X on the right.
If someone had shown me this chip without telling me what it was, I'd have assumed it was an eight-core Xeon or something! Intel does not provide a standard cooler with any Sandy Bridge Extreme CPU, but will make air and water coolers available. For this review they provided their Asetek-sourced "Thermal Solution RTS2011LC", which they estimate will go for between $85 and $100 at the retail level. This cooler appears almost identical to the Antec KÜHLER H2O 620, but Intel says Asetek made changes specific to this model.
Join me in the next section as I take a look at the Sandy Bridge Extreme architecure, and how it differs from the LGA1155 Sandy Bridge processors.