Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Processor (Sandy Bridge-E) Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅14-11-11
Specifications & Features

-Processor Name: i7 3960x Extreme Edition
-Number of Cores: 6
-Number of Threads: 12
-Clock Speed: 3.3GHz
-Max Turbo Frequency: 3.9GHz
-Intel Smart Cache: 15MB
-Bus/Core Ratio: 33
-Intel QPI Speed: 6.4GT/s
-Number of QPI Links: 1
-Instruction Set: 64-bit
-Instruction Set Extensions: SSE4.2
-Lithography: 32nm
-Die Size: 20.8mm x 20.9mm
-Max TDP: 130W
-VID Voltage Range: 0.800V-1.375V

-Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
-Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
-Supports LGA 2011 socket Intel X79 Express Chipset based motherboards
-15MB Intel Smart Cache
-Integrated Quad Channel Memory Controller
-Intel AVX and AES
-40 PCI Express lanes
-SSE 4.1 & SSE 4.2 Instructions

On the face of it, the i7-3960X does not appear to be too dissimilar to the Intel i7-990X. Both have 6 cores and equally, 12 threads when Hyperthreading is enabled. They both too make use of 6.4GT/s QPI speed. Indeed, both range topping CPU’s are based on 32nm lithography, have the same VID range of 0.800V-1.375V and also have an identical TDP of 130W.

Here’s a brief overview of the current crop of high-end CPU’s available:

The i7-990X has a faster ‘stock’ clockspeed than the i7-3960X, 3.46GHz vs 3.3GHz, however the tables are turned when Intel Turbo-boost II iss enabled with the i7-3960X hitting 3.9GHz as opposed to the i7-990x settling for 3.73GHz. The good news doesn’t stop there either as the i7-3960X also has more cache to play with (15MB) and perhaps most significantly, quad channel DDR3 support. The new Sandybridge-E processor crams in 2.27 Billion transistors on a larger much larger die of it’s predecessor, measuring 434.72mm square in total. Intel have suggested that this will equate to 20% better video editing, 102% better memory performance and 34% better gaming performance. We shall put those very bold claims to the test later in the review.

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