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

By: Shawn Baker | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Nov 14, 2011 8:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Intel

The Retail Side


Like with any CPU launch, we don't see any retail packaging, but we do have access to pictures of what's going on with the package. The overall look of the boxes won't change from an artwork perspective as you can see below.




On the left we've got the blue box which will be associated with the four and six core Sandy Bridge Core i7 E series CPUs, while on the right we have the Extreme Edition packaging which follows the same black color design we've seen for a while from Intel.


The most interesting fact is that the package doesn't actually include any cooling solution. While this might take a little for some people to get used to, it's a nice move by Intel which will hopefully bring the price of the CPUs down a little over time. We don't expect too much at launch. I hope companies make an effort to advertise the lack of included cooler, though, as there would be nothing worse than picking up a nice new SB-E CPU and finding yourself with no CPU cooler.


At launch we're going to see two levels of cooling for the new line of processors from Intel. The first is that traditional air cooler we've been seeing from Intel for years. You can see the installation method comes in the form of four screws instead of the general push pin configuration.




The new installation method is one of the better features for the new cooler; it means that mounting is going to be a lot more secure and the chance of pin damage on the cooler is reduced. The main target for the cooler, though, is the entry level /business sector.


The other option, and probably the more popular one for anyone who's interested in having some real fun with the new Sandy Bridge-E platform is the new Liquid Cooling solution. Looking at it, you can see it's of course that familiar Asetek design we've seen a lot of companies use over the past 18 months. It's of course got Intel branding on it and the blue fan is different to what we've seen before.




The good thing about the cooler is that without testing it, we know it's a quality unit as we've tested the same kind of cooler for a while now. The closed water cooling solutions are great and I swear by the Corsair H100s we use here.

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