Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition (LGA 2011) CPU Review (Page 1)

The much anticipated replacement to the X58 platform is here. We look at the 3960X EE and the associated X79 chipset!
| Nov 14, 2011 at 2:00 am CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Intel



Nothing gets me more giddy than an Extreme Edition CPU from Intel. Sure, some might say that's a little sad, but us nerdlings love our high end processors. Even if the associated cost with them is outside the realm for most, the lineup that is associated with a new series of Intel processors is enough to get the heart pumping.

It's no secret that the X79 platform was launching today; it's no secret that the top of the line processor for the platform is the i7 3960X Extreme Edition, and it's no secret that the platform supports Quad Channel RAM. Like any launch, there's a lot of things we know about the product prior to the release of it.

At the same time, there are a lot of things we don't know about the product and today it's our job to get all down and dirty with the latest high end platform from Intel and find out exactly what it's able to offer us.

Intel have been on a really good run lately and with the lack of spark from the Bulldozer platform, no thanks to AMD themselves, it looks like they're going to stay on a good run. Sandy Bridge has cemented itself as an excellent platform that offers fantastic value for money and huge potential via the help of overclocking.

The issue with the Sandy Bridge platform was that it was only ever a side grade from the X58 one due to the fact it replaced the P55 platform. We saw a lot of enthusiasts jump on it, though, thanks to the overclocking potential on offer. The other thing that got people to bite was the fact it was something new. X58 was and is still a very good platform, but some of us have been using it since launch and if you've got that upgrade bug, the P67 / Z68 platform was just too tempting.

If you managed to hold out, though, or you just wanted to play with P67 / Z68 while we waited for the big bad beast that was X79, the day of waiting is over. Today we'll be checking the new biggest and baddest CPU on the market, the i7 3960X Extreme Edition. The only thing that will probably scare you more than the performance is the price tag, but anyone who has dipped their toe in the infinity pool that is the Extreme Edition line of CPUs from Intel would well and truly know the price of entry.

Outside of the new LGA 2011 socket CPUs launching today, we've also got the new Quad Channel memory platform which is going to bring with it lots of new RAM kits along with the brand new X79 chipset which brings with it loads of new motherboards from all the usual culprits.

As for the layout we're dealing with today, we'll start off by looking at the i7 3960X EE and the other LGA 2011 CPUs we'll see soon. Once we've covered that in some detail, we'll talk a bit about the brand new chipset that's associated with the platform. Once we've done that we'll talk about our testbed and look at the overclocking side of things before we finally get into the performance side of things and run our i7 3960X EE against a number of other top processors.

So I think that just about covers us. Let's start to see exactly what we're dealing with when it comes to the new LGA 2011 processors from Intel.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm CDT

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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