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Intel i7 3960X EE / Asus Rampage IV Extreme / Corsair GTX8 (2400mhz) / Quad GTX590 Review

Rating: 9.0.

Today Intel are launching their new high end X79 platform and Kitguru has prepared several reviews for your viewing pleasure. In this specific review we are looking at the new Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor when paired up with the flagship ASUS Rampage IV Extreme Edition motherboard and some very exclusive 2,400mhz rated Corsair Dominator GT memory.

2011 has been a very positive year for Intel with Sandybridge adopted by the enthusiast audience as the performance platform to own if you are serious about gaming, and other, more serious duties. The Core i7 2600k and 2700k offer a high performance, easily overclockable solution targeted at a very reasonable sub £300 price point. Intel have also reported strong sales from their budget oriented quad core Core i5 2500k and regular readers will have already enjoyed our low cost system build article featuring this processor.

The Core i7 3960X EE has no direct competitor from AMD, simply replacing the X58 based Core i7 990x Extreme Edition, the previous flagship.

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 flagship Asus Rampage IV Extreme Edition 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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