A little under two years after the release of Intel's high-end desktop – Sandy Bridge-E – LGA 2011 processors and the corresponding X79 chipset, it's time for the platform to go through its refresh phase. Featuring a die shrink from SB-E's 32nm to 22nm, Ivy Bridge-E is intended to take command of Intel's flagship line of high-end, consumer processors. Welcome Intel's newest hexacore processor sat at the summit of the company's desktop CPU line-up, the Core i7 4960X Extreme Edition.
With Intel's most recent launch – that of its ‘tock' phase in the form of Haswell – enthusiasts across the globe greeted the new line of chips with mixed receptions. To be fair, mixed receptions is putting it nicely. Haswell was faster than its predecessor – Ivy Bridge – and very good for mobile purposes, but those improvements came at the cost of overclocking headroom which tended to be far more limited than the 3xxx series models. Many enthusiasts, overclockers in particular, were not pleased.
With this in mind, Intel is hoping that its latest high-end desktop (HEDT) processors can restore faith in the hearts of enthusiasts. Representing a ‘tick' phase in Intel's development cycle, IVB-E is built on a 22nm fabrication process and fits into the current LGA 2011 socket. Asus has sent us its refreshed X79-Deluxe motherboard which features specific tweaks and optimisations for use with Ivy Bridge-E processors.
Is the 4960X a worthy heir to the consumer processor throne?
- 3.60GHz base clock speed (up to 4.0GHz turbo frequency).
- 6 cores, 12 threads.
- 15MB Intel Smart Cache.
- Quad-channel DDR3 1866MHz native memory support.
- 130W TDP.
- Supports LGA 2011 socket, X79 Express chipset-based motherboards.
- 40 PCI-Express lanes.
- Unlocked core ratio multiplier.
- Intel Turbo Boost technology 2.0.
- Intel Hyper-Threading technology.
- Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way optimisation.
- Support for up to 64GB of system memory with an 8-DIMM design.
- ASUS SSD Caching II.
- Wi-Fi GO! – Support for dual-band wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0.
- 3-Way SLI and Quad-GPU CrossFireX Support!