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Intel Core i7 5960X EE (Haswell-E) CPU and X99 Chipset Review

By: Shawn Baker | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 29, 2014 4:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Intel

Haswell-E - The New Processors


Like any new platform launch, the main parts that Intel want to concentrate on are of course the high-end parts. We absolutely love that. At the same time, though, we won't deny the fact that we'd love to also see Intel sample the lower-end parts of the new platform, especially when using the word "lower" seems like an insult to the other models. The new Intel Core i7 5960X Extreme Edition (EE) sits at the top of three new processors that are launching alongside the new X99 platform.




The new i7 5960X EE is the first Intel eight-core processor that is aimed for desktop users. While eight core and higher processors are indeed offered by Intel, the new i7 5960X EE is the first to be aimed at the desktop user. Instead these massively cored CPUs have been reserved for the Xeon line which is aimed at the workstation, enterprise, and server market. This new LGA2011-v3 socket processors are compatible with not only the new X99 chipset that has launched beside it, but also with DDR4.


While the i7 5960X EE carries eight physical cores, thanks to Hyper-Threading being offered, we see a total of 16 threads on the new Extreme Edition processor. Out of the box, the processor supports DDR4-2133, but with the help of overclocking and memory dividers, we know from past experience that going higher than that isn't going to be much of an issue.




Out of the box, the i7 5960X EE has a base clock of 3GHz that is then pushed up to 3.5GHz via Intel's Turbo Boost 2.0 technology. Being an Extreme Edition part means that we've got a fully unlocked multiplier to assist in overclocking the processor to even higher clocks - this is one area we're extremely interested in. With 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes integrated into the core, we've clearly got a CPU that is designed for massive video card setups. With a massive 20MB of cache, paired together with all the other features, you'd be hard press to deny that this isn't a processor for someone wanting to build the ultimate gamer's machine.


An ultimate gaming machine comes at a price, though, and with its high, but expected $999 price tag, it's easy to quickly close your eyes and pretend it doesn't even exist as it sits out of reach. So, what if you want to jump on the latest and greatest motherboard and memory technology, but don't want to spend a cool $999 on your processor? There are other options.


As we mentioned, the new i7 5960X EE launches alongside two other processors, which don't quite carry the same sticker shock price that is associated with Intel's top model. Looking below, you can see the new Intel Core i7 5930K and 5820K. When it comes to similarities, all three processors support a fully unlocked multiplier, Hyper Threading, quad-channel DDR4-2133, Turbo Boost 2.0, a 140W TDP and the same LGA 2011-v3 socket.




That's where the similarities stop, though, as the first major difference between these two processors and the top EE one is the fact they're utilizing a six core / 12 thread setup instead of the massive eight core / 16 thread setup. The next big difference comes in the clock speeds - both of these more affordable core processors actually come in clocked higher with the i7 5930K coming with a 3.5GHz base clock, which is pushed up to 3.7GHz via Turbo Boost 2.0. And the i7 5820K carries a 3.3GHz base clock, which is then pushed up to 3.6GHz via Turbo Boost 2.0.


Moving away from the clocks, another major difference between the three processors is that while the EE carries an epic 20MB of cache, the i7 5930K and i7 5820K parts are reduced down to 15MB of cache. Combined with the reduced cores, the two K based processors should still come in slower, even with the higher out of the box clock speeds that are offered by Intel.


One of the more interesting changes, though, comes in terms of PCIe 3.0 lanes. While the i7 5930K brings with it the same 40 lanes that are offered on the X variant, the i7 5820K brings with it a reduced 28 lanes. This is the one feature that will separate the people wanting larger three or four video card setups, and those who are just one or two.


Out of everything, though, the biggest difference comes from the price which can be seen on the right hand side. Priced at nearly half, the $583 price tag associated with the i7 5930K looks a lot more attractive than the $999 one associated with the X version. Moving down to the i7 5820K brings a further price drop with its $389 tag. Apart from the 100MHz difference, depending on the video card setup you're looking at, the i7 5820K could carry with it's the best overall value, depending on your specific needs. Without testing them, though, it's a little difficult to know just exactly how all three processors perform. Hopefully we'll get a chance to look at the lower models from Intel at a later date.

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