Intel Releases Sandy Bridge-E Processors & X79 Express Chipset

Rob Williams

Staff member
Last spring, Intel launched its first ever six-core processor, capable of producing "sick scores" (get it?). Based on the Gulftown architecture, those offerings were unparalleled in the performance offered, and as such they became a no-brainer to those needing to build a power PC for whatever reason. As powerful as the chips were though, other models released since have in some cases been more tempting.


Read the rest of our post and then discuss it here!


Tech Monkey
Ah ok. Only reason I said that is because in the past the prices stated in the article were the exact prices online (CPUs, GPUs)


No ROM battery
Hmm... Ok, that TDP is just scary.

Anyways, is it me or this is a no-brainer that the only interesting offer is the 3960X? I mean, sure:

- The 3930K offers 6 cores and up to 12 threads. But unless one is a user of a very select group of applications, we won't ever make use of those. And certainly games don't.

- The 3930k is a much cheaper at "just" ~500 USD. But the 2600K offers more core frequency and a much smaller TDP. We lose 4 threads but we get it at almost half the price.

- The 3930K offers more cache than the 2600k. Can't argue here. But I will be interested on Rob's review. My guess: the 3930K performance won't be that dramatic in comparison to the 2600K. Certainly nothing that justifies paying almost 2x the price.


The i7-3960X is however a beautiful beast. Sure, we won't be making use of 12 threads most of the time. That argument won't go away. But it compensates on everything else. The cache at 15Mb is just wow. And both core and turbo frequencies at least make an effort to justify that TDP.


Tech Monkey
It'd be nice to see all available cores being efficiently used. It's obviously the goal of programers and certainly the reason for having multiple cores and threads. Games, especially, need the extra oomph. End users like being able to tab between game, desktop, and other apps without system lag.

Allowing 4 cores to process program threads while the other 2 handle system resources and operating system needs sounds like a reasonable alternative. Then the question of 'is only 4 cores enough for X application?' comes in. Or 'why not have all cores share the workload?'. I wholeheartedly agree with those sentiments. I'm certain that end the end it will be programming efficiency and coding that nets the best results for system performance, not just brute power.


Techgage Staff
Staff member
Hmm... Ok, that TDP is just scary.

Anyways, is it me or this is a no-brainer that the only interesting offer is the 3960X?.

I don't see why? Naw, I'd disagree and say the 3930K is the only interesting chip. The 3960X costs twice as much and offers extra 3MB of cache to show for it. Since the $555 3930K is also unlocked just like the 3960X, it can be clocked (and overclocked) the same, but it still has six of the cores intact.

The 3920 is a tough call, but given pricing has not been given yet it's too early to say.

I've learned a few things already about this X79 platform:

  1. We can expect the X79 chipset to be "fixed" with the missing SCU features sometime before mid 2012.
  2. Ivy Bridge E (yes, IB-E), will launch in 2013 and be a drop in replacement for X79 LGA-2011 boards.
  3. SB-E is really Sandy Bridge-EP. Sandy Bridge-EP is an eight-core, 20MB L3 cache server chip. So in reality, the 3960X has 2 cores and 5MB cache disabled from the get-go.

While that is bad news, it does mean we will see 8-core chips on LGA-2011. They may come next year when Ivy launches, as a platform update, but they will definitely come in 2013 with Ivy Bridge E if not...

Want to read about SB-E, errr, Sandy Bridge_EP for servers? There's a link for that!
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