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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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  • Harold

    Great mobo ! but ouch on price (although expected for ROG).

  • Joey Trimble

    That motherboard is friggin hardcore. 2400mhz memory?! awesome. probably cost £500 in the UK if they ever bring it out here however!

  • Peter

    50GB of bandwidth with that Corsair GTX8 memory? I wet myself.

    What beautiful memory too, stole the show for me today, never mind the 3960X… (which is good too I guess :p)

  • David

    Great article, I would have liked to see the temperatures of that 2400mhz memory. I would say the oversized heatspreaders arent there for just show.

    I cant believe the result of 50 GB/s of bandwidth with it, thats off the chart.

  • John

    Great review, as always. One thing though, in the future will this CPU be used to bench new cards? Cause i think for gaming, from the small data i see in the review, it’s not the best performance/$ nor will it be affordable to 99% of gamers out there which would rather spend the cash on video cards.

  • No, I don’t think we will use it much for ‘general’ reviews in coming months. probably a 2600k system for those.

  • Colin

    That Corsair memory is mindblowing. look at the design ! spectacular!

  • Optix

    For video editing and 3d work, this is stunning. for the f irst time ive seen how high spec memory can make a difference. 2,400mhz is amazing, but can it overclock more?

  • Lancaster

    Hey man, if you ever want a home for that 590 GTX QUAD SLI system, let me know.

    almost 1kw from the socket. lol.

  • Paul McGrattan

    /jealous .

    over 63k with 3dmark vantage? I seriously need a system upgrade, about to cry 🙁

  • Peter

    Its a great setup, but its not mainstream or even for most enthusiast users. the price of the CPU alone means you could get a decent system, but in regards to technology its a bad sign for AMD, they are so far behind now its not even funny

  • Vic

    Seems overkill for most users, if I played games at night and encoding video during the day, sure. but its a 2600k for me im afraid.

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  • Darth Vadar

    I love asus products. I bought one of their rampage boards a few years ago and its still working perfectly at a mad OC level.

  • Fore Skin

    LN2 switch is cool, wonder how many people at home would use thaT? any benefits for an ordinary user when ocing or just LN2?

  • Seth

    Great review guys. love those high res images for board detail.

  • Yorkie

    I am buying this setup when it is available. thanks for details. going to cost me 3k or so but I already have two GTX590s 🙂

  • Davis

    I really do want to get hold of some of that memory from Corsair, that is insanely good.

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  • Bryans

    How about WEI score? Can i7-3960x reach perfect 7.9? I have read many reviews that there is no processor that reach it without extreme overclocking.

  • Wei , the windows experience index?

    Yes 7.9.

  • Anyone notice that Asus did not make the Rampage IV extreme with bluetooth V3.0… they are using the old 2.1 version, likely to continue the sells of they’re current Rampage III Black Edition.

  • Guess, they want me to wait until they come out with another black edition only for the Rampage IV?

  • Iain

    Yeah thats weird, why would they do that?

  • Bryans

    Wow, this is cool, Intel Core i7-3960x EE is the first desktop processor capable of reaching the WEI (Windows Experience Index) perfect 7.9 at stock speed (3.30 GHz).
    For the other components that have reached 7.9: DDR3 memory > 12 GB, HD 6970 or GTX 580 or faster, 200 GB or higher SATA 6 Gbps SSD.