Excerpt: Six cores, twelve threads, 3.6 GHz base, 4 GHz turbo, 15 MB of cache, quad-channel memory, and a 22nm die. The specs speak for themselves, the Intel Core i7-4960X is a monster.
By now everyone knows Core i7 means performance. And when you tack that one little “X” to the end it goes from the best to the best-of-the-best. For those that may not be familiar with the naming scheme, the X means Extreme which is Intel’s halo product.
Conclusion: If you take a look at the raw performance scores, Intel's latest six core / twelve thread beast is just that in terms of multi threaded performance. Across the entire test suite it is faster at completing a workload at stock speeds than anything else on the market. Is it fast enough to move up from Sandy Bridge Extreme? It all comes down to a matter of performance versus dollars spent. On average the improvement borders on 10% through the test suite.
Pros: Improved IPC performance, Improved memory overclocking, High PCIe 3.0 lane count
Summary: So, these scatter plots with price and performance kinda put things into perspective, don't they? The 4960X really is the fastest desktop CPU overall, but it ain't exactly blowing my skirt up here compared to the 3970X.
You know what would probably look great on these plots? That Core i7-4930K that costs under 600 bucks and runs at almost the same exact speed. You'd think Intel would want to see those parts tested, too, but nope. Believe me; I've read the emails.
Excerpt: This most recent metamorphosis of the PC hasn’t been kind to the high-end desktop processor segment. While the industry as a whole continues to focus on the steadily growing ultra-mobile market , and releases new products in rapid succession, there have only been two major flagship desktop processors released since the Intel Core i7-3960X hit the scene in late 2011—the slightly faster Intel Core i7-3970X and AMD’s limited edition FX-9590.
Pros: Uber Fast, More Power Efficient Than Its Predecessor, Fits In Existing Socket
Cons: Not Much Faster Than SBE, Pricey, Haswell Offers Better Single Thread Performance, No Support On Intel X79 motherboards
Summary: System Benchmarks -
In PC Mark 7, we can see that the category scores are improved, while the overall score is much improved. Intel boasts a 18% increase in CPU performance but Cinebench gives the 4960X a 12% difference in performance. The SiSandra Benchmarks is where we see the differences more closely. Bandwidth has increased while most latencies seem to hover at a 4 to 6% increase.
Conclusion: The Ivy Bridge-powered Core i7-4960X is an anachronistic chip. Already superceded in terms of architecture by the Haswell range of processors earlier this year, IVB-E is Intel saying that it can release high-performance CPUs whenever it so wishes, with whatever architecture it deems fit - a thought that's underscored by AMD not having the necessary FX firepower to compete in the upper echelons of the enthusiast space.
Conclusion: Intel’s Core i7 4960X will have an MSRP of $990. It’s slightly cut down younger brother the Core i7 4930K will cost $555 and the only quad core the Core i7 4820K costs $310. Currently the Core i7 3960X has a tray price of $999, the Core i7 3930K has a tray price of $583 and the Core i7 3820K has a tray price of $294. So with the exception of the Core i7 4820K we can see all Ivy Bridge-E CPUs come in priced lower than the Sandy Bridge-E predecessors.
Pros: Exceptional multi-threaded performance, Decent generational increase in performance, Significant power consumption reductions, Backward compatibility with current X79 motherboards, Slightly cheaper than Sandy Bridge-E was at launch
Cons: Runs hotter but only by a small margin, Still an expensive and therefore exclusive platform, Overclocking potential in raw GHz terms has been reduced, Haswell’s 4770K trumps it in applications requiring 4 cores or less
Summary: Final Thoughts
When we covered the Haswell launch back in June it was pretty exciting because it was a brand new microarchitecture which brought many new improvements, a new chipset with new features and that meant new motherboards as well. With Ivy Bridge-E we are just moving from a 32 nm shrink die to a 22 nm shrink die. This means the new Ivy Bridge-E chips will work on the same X79 motherboards that have been out for quite some time.
Pros: Improved performance over the previous generation, Better power consumption, Runs cooler, 40 PCIExpress lanes, Quad channel memory