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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

Wellsburg (X99) - The New Chipset


Outside of the new crop of processors, the new Haswell-E based processors require a new series of motherboards, featuring chipsets known as codename Wellsburg, or more commonly known as X99. Looking below, you can see what exactly the new processors and chipset are capable of handling.


When it comes to the CPUs, we know that up to 40 PCIe lanes can be offered. Below, though, we can see the kind of configuration they can be in - a dual x16 setup with a single x8 or an option that supports five x8 PCIe slots. Along with that, though, you can see the internal memory controller is capable of handling a quad-channel DDR4 setup with speeds up to 2133MHz officially (without added overclocking).




Moving away from what the CPU features are, we can see just what is brought to the table via the new X99 chipset. Offering support for a massive 14 USB ports, you can see up to six of those can be USB 3.0, while the other eight can be USB 2.0. Along with that, we've got integrated gigabit networking.


Looking at the other side, you can see that Intel HD Audio is brought to the table, along with a further eight PCIe slots. Looking closer, though, you can see these are just 2.0 slots and not newer 3.0 like the ones supported on the processor. Out of the box, the new X99 chipset will also offer support for 10 SATA ports with all 10 of them being SATA III with support for optional Intel Rapid Storage technology. Looking across the bottom, you can see that we've got support for Intel Management Engine Firmware 9.1 & BIOS support, while Intel Extreme Tuning Utility is also supported.




Looking above, you can see just how the new Haswell-E platform compares to the previous Ivy Bridge-E platform. Starting from the processor, you can see we're now able to get eight-core CPUs with up to 20MB of cache. PCIe lanes offered are the same, although, you can see one SKU carries a reduced 28 lanes. When it comes to discrete video card configurations, you can see both are similar with the newer Haswell-E processors supporting a fifth PCIe x8 lane.


One of the major difference, though, is the fact that instead of quad-channel DDR3 1866 on the previous X79, the new platform offers support for quad-channel DDR4 with speeds up to 2133MHz. Finally, we finish up the main CPU differences with the new Haswell-E processors having a slightly higher TDP with 140 watt being seen instead of 130 watt. Thunderbolt is capable on certain motherboards that opt for it and BCLK overclocking support is offered from the chipset.

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