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Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition (LGA 2011) CPU Review (Page 2)

Shawn Baker | Nov 14, 2011 at 2:00 am CST - 3 mins, 6 secs time to read this page
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Intel

LGA 2011 Models and Specifications

So where do we start? I suppose the best part is the models we'll be seeing from Intel and some of the main specifications related to them. Looking below, you can see there's three processors in the new Sandy Bridge-E family. At the top sits the I7 3960X EE which is the one we have with us today and the new flagship processor from Intel. It's got a base clock of 3.3GHz and via Turbo Frequency can run at 3.9GHz. The two biggest pieces of information around the processor is the fact it's a six (6) core CPU with twelve (12) threads via Hyper Threading, and the fact that it carries with it a massive 15MB of Cache.

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Right below the 3960X EE sits the 3930K and this is going to be the processor that people will be on the hunt for. Coming in only 100MHz lower than the 3960X EE and offering a 6 / 12 setup for Cores / Hyper Threading make it a really appealing option. While slightly less cache at 12MB, the associated price tag of $555 US verse $990 US is what's really going to make it the one to busy. Both processors are listed as "Unlocked" making them also the main choice for overclockers.

The baby LGA 2011 CPU is the i7 3820 which carries the highest base clock of 3.6GHz and lines up with the 3960X EE when it comes to the Turbo Frequency. The biggest difference is that this is only a 4 Core / 8 Thread CPU. It also carries the least amount of cache at 10MB, is listed as "Partially Unlocked" but more importantly isn't available at launch - instead listed as "Q1 2010".

As for similarities between all three models, they all support four channels of DDR3 1600MHz DDR RAM which has been coined "Quad Channel". On the TDP front, all chips come in at 130W and you can see this is a bit of a jump from the Sandy Bridge platform.

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As you can see above, though, the Sandy Bridge-E platform continues to run on the 32nm process. Going off the above roadmap, we can see that the next big jump for Intel will come in the form of Ivy Bridge and that will be based on the 22nm technology. Ivy Bridge should be the successor while much later down the track Ivy Bridge-E will be the successor to what we're looking at today which will be much further down the track.

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Having a closer look at the Die Detail on the new i7 3960X EE, we can see across the top of the chip we have our Queue, Uncore and I/O. Running down the side we have our six cores and some serious room for another two cores. With the help of Hyper Threading those six cores of course become 12 like we've mentioned. Across the bottom we have our built in Memory Controller and in the middle you can see our L3 Cache. Looking across the bottom you can see we've got a total of 2.27B transistors on the CPU and the die size comes in at 20.8mm x 20.9mm.

As we've mentioned already, Turbo Boost is implemented on the whole line of LGA 2011 processors in the form of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. This is dependent on the amount of load being placed on the processor via the cores being used.

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With a base clock of 3.3GHz the 3960X EE will push itself to 3.6GHz if 5 - 6 cores are active, as you can see in the image above. In the event only 1 - 2 cores are active, though, you can see we're pushed up by an extra 600MHz which brings that clock speed in at 3.9GHz as we mentioned earlier.

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

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Shawn Baker


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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