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Intel i7 3960X EE / Asus P9X79 Deluxe / 32GB Corsair Vengeance (1600mhz) Review

Rating: 9.0.

Intel launch their X79 platform today and we have several reviews ready for your enjoyment, focusing on various aspects of the technology and associated performance with partnering hardware. In this article we are going to be testing the Intel i7 3960x with the new Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with a fully loaded array of 32GB 1600mhz memory, courtesy of Corsair.

Intel have had it all their own way in 2011 with Sandybridge dominating both the performance and sales charts. When AMD released the FX8150 in October it failed to ignite the hearts and minds of the enthusiast audience, being launched to a mixed, but mainly negative reception. Intel's 2600k still held the performance crown in the sub £300 sector, being quickly superseded by the clock ramped Intel Core i7 2700k. When that happened the gulf just widened even more.

To make matters worse, AMD have had nothing to target Intel's ultra high end Core i7 970, 980x and 990x processors … so it is up to Intel to replace them with a new range of high performing silicon. X58/LGA1366 has now been replaced by X79/LGA2011.

If you have read our other reviews today then you may want to skip over some of the pages in this article, as we have to recap on the new technology for those readers who have landed here first.

Today Intel are launching three new Core i7 processors. The Core i7 3820 @ 3.6ghz, The Core i7 3930k @ 3.2ghz and the Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition @ 3.3ghz. We are looking at the latter model, pairing it up with the high end Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard.

Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition Core i7 3930k Core i7 3820
Number of Processor Cores 6 6 4
Number of simultaneous threads with Intel Hyper Threading Technology 12 12 8
Intel Smart Cache Size 15 MB 12 MB 10 MB
Processor Base Frequency 3.3ghz 3.2ghz 3.6ghz
Memory Frequency 1600 mhz 1600 mhz 1600 mhz
Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 2.0 2.0
Number of DDR3 Memory Channels 4 4 4
Overclocking Enabled YES YES YES (partial)
Intel Express Chipset X79 X79 X79
Socket LGA2011 LGA2011 LGA2011

As the table above highlights, both 3960X and 3930K are unlocked processors, while the cheaper 3820 allows for ‘partial' overclocking. This means the user can adjust the core multiplier to a preset maximum. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, but the 3960X should cost around $1,000 in the states and the 3930k at $610. We would make an educated guess that the 3960X will cost around £800 inc vat in the UK, directly replacing the 990X at the same price.

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