Intel Core i7 3970X Extreme Edition (Sandy Bridge-E) CPU
While taking over as the flagship processor from Intel, the 3960X Extreme Edition continues to be available at the moment. So the main question we have to ask is what's the difference between the two Extreme Edition processors?
Actually probably less than you think. The most obvious is the out of the box speed which is now 3.5GHz instead of 3.4GHz. Throwing "Turbo Boost" into the mix sees our CPU then run at 4GHz instead of 3.9GHz as seen on the 3960X.
The other major change is the power draw on the processor with the newer 3970X being rated at 150w and the older 3960X using slightly less at 130w. As soon as we move away from those two key areas we start to see that everything else on the 3970X lines up just as you'd think.
On the core front we've got six active cores alongside Hyper Threading bringing a total of 12 threads to the table. We see the same 15MB of L3 cache and 32nm manufacturing process being used.
In the end what we're ultimately dealing with is a speed bump. That's never a bad thing, but sometimes it can be a little harder justifying the upgrade from the predecessor.