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Intel Core i7 4960X EE CPU / Asus X79-Deluxe Motherboard Review

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?


Processor Features:

  • 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.

Motherboard Features:

  • 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!

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  • Ivan

    Epic stuff. skimmed over it before work this morning, bookmarked for a good read later today. Next on my list to place my 3930k.

  • Eran

    Well at least it seems to overclock a bit better than Haswell. Good info on the core to core tests. 4770k is the most efficient processor on a core basis.

    4960x looks like a solid processor, but I wish AMD could offer more of a challenge then Intel would be forced to drop their prices a little. it is very very expensive. Still, for the target audience of people who render etc looks like a great buy.

    AMD , where are you!???

  • Harris

    Great review, haven’t read all of it yet, but picked up some interesting info. Way out of my price range. im saving for a 4570k and a new mobo. always good reading these ultra high end reviews, just to dream !

  • Topperfalkon

    wow a lot of work in this one. I do agree with eran earlier in the review. Intel are kick ass, but the prices are hard to swallow. 4770k for a bang to buck is much better, but same with the last generation. these 6 core CPU’s cost a small fortune.

    Good work Mr Hill.

  • Dannie

    best review of this I have read today. I love INTEL!

  • Ah the perfect partner. Blows the heck out of the FX 9590.

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  • LqM

    Did ASUS provide a release date for the X79-Deluxe?

  • LqM, the Asus board will be hitting retailers in the coming days.

  • Anthony

    Asus would release more boards or just the deluxe?

    I wont get the 4770k. 4820 is much better IMO

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  • Val

    what are the boot times and boot options on the “Asus X79-Deluxe”?