Conclusion: The AMD FX (Bulldozer) launch was pretty disappointing, to put it mildly, and today’s arrival of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors does nothing to make AMD’s flagship look any more attractive. But as was the case with the Phenom II and the original Core i7, Bulldozer and Sandy Bridge-E are two very different animals that target very different price ranges.
Conclusion: If you're looking for the fastest consumer CPU in the world, the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition is unquestionably it. But a few caveats may give pause to all but the most rabid enthusiasts.
Pros: Excellent all-around performance. Unlocked multiplier for simplified overclocking. Supports dual PCIe x16 video cards at full speed. Includes full range of Sandy Bridge features. Low power usage.
Cons: Very expensive. Requires new motherboard, purchase of separate CPU cooler. No integrated video, Quick Sync technology. Performance within line of sight of top-end Sandy Bridge chips.
Conclusion: Benchmark tests should always be taken with a grain of salt. It's difficult to try and isolate the performance difference a single component in a computer system makes, especially when it's necessary to compare across different manufacturers and platforms. Complicating the matter is the fact that benchmarks change, a manufacturer may change the technical details of a product, and the retail price may change as well.
Pros: Staggering level of performance, More overclocking mechanisms as compared to Sandy Bridge, 48 PCI-E lanes as compared to the 24 lanes of a Sandy Bridge system, Did I mention the performance? It's staggering., Quad-channel memory architecture
Conclusion: Needless to say that this is not what the average enthusiast needs, nor should any game aspire to SNBe, any upgrade in graphics card will result in better average gaming experience – assuming that the system will not be abused to run at the lowest quality and resolution settings. The biggest problem with Sandy Bridge Extreme is that it was predictable, it was expected to be a killer processor and in so far, we have read a number of reviews that lukewarmly acknowledged...
Excerpt: It's now three years since Intel released the Core i7 processor and associated X58 chipset, making up the LGA1366 platform. Then ushering in a new era for high-performance PCs and with numbers still to be bettered by AMD's rival Bulldozer chip, Intel's has the high-end desktop market sewn up for a while.
Intel Core i7-3960X - Sandy Bridge E Processor Review
14 November 2011
Summary: I am not sure who is supposed to buy a 3960X. I really do not see it benefiting gamers. I do not see it being a boon too overclocking enthusiasts due to price, power usage, and subsequently heat output. I guess if I sat around all day ripping Blu-ray disks and encoding those for torrent sites, it would be awesome. Maybe that could be Intel's new 3960X motto, "Sandy Bridge E, maximizing BitTorrent ratios, one desktop at a time." Meh.
Conclusion: Exact pricing wasn't available when we wrote this in early November 2011, but Intel expects the Core i7-3930K to cost about $560, barely more than half the expected cost of the Core i7-3960X. If value is at all a concern, the Core i7-3930K will likely be a much better value. But if you’re willing to spend top dollar for the fastest possible system, the Core i7-3960X’s larger cache and faster-rated clock speeds should keep it slightly ahead of even an overclocked...
Pros: As of late 2011, fastest consumer desktop CPU available, Same price as its predecessor, Tons of bandwidth for memory and expansion cards
Cons: Expensive, New LGA 2011 socket design requires a new motherboard
Excerpt: 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.
Conclusion: While I regret not having access to more CPUs to be able to compare it to, there’s no questioning that Intel’s new Core i7-3960X is nothing less than a beast. It performed exceptionally well in every benchmark even at stock settings (which actually means up to 3.9GHz) and is an incredible overclocker, offering instant access to even more power, especially if you opt for the liquid cooling.