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Intel Launches Extreme Edition Core i7 CPUs

David Gilbert by

Intel Sandy Bridge E

Performance PC enthusiasts have been made to wait almost 12 months by Intel before getting their hands on the Extreme Edition of the Sandy Bridge processors which has been such a success since launching at the beginning of this year.

Intel has remedied this however with the introduction of the second generation Core i7 chips (three of them) – known as the Sandy Bridge E, as well as an X79 chipset and a new LGA2011 socket.

Top of the range is the Core i7-3960X CPU, a 3.3GHz behemoth with six cores servicing 12 threads of processing power. One of the standout features of the new CPU will be support for quad-channel DDR3 RAM but what real world advantages this will have over the current triple-channel DDR3 is as yet unknown.

Intel Sandy Bridge E

The Core i7-3960X CPU comes with 15MB of L3 cache which is almost double the max on the older Sandy Bridge chips and it can upscale to 3.9GHz using Turbo Boost. However all this does not come without a price, and the i7-3960X will cost around £840 on its own, with between £200 or £300 more for the LGA2011 motherboard.

Looking at the other chips, the Core i7-3930K will again offer six cores and 12 threads, will run at 100MHz slower that the 3960X and ‘only’ offer 12MB of L3 cache. It will set you back £480 for the chip only. The Core i7-3820 steps down to just 4 cores and 8 threads, 10MB of L3 cache and it will run at 3.6GHz.

Intel Sandy Bridge E

Both the lower end chips will fit into the new LGA2011 socket meaning they will also need a new motherboard.

Are these new chips something that excites the tweaker inside of you? Or is the high price point and need for a new motherboard too much for you to consider an upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

Via: PCPro

Go to comments


November 14, 2011, 6:36 pm

i've been holding off upgrading my socket 775 q9550 for a high end i7, but its upsetting that they don't work in the current generation of motherboards... and with ivy bridge around the corner it may be worth skipping.


November 15, 2011, 4:25 am

Way outside my price league.

And, as usual, Intel change their CPU topology pretty much every generation so in order to get the claimed performance increase you need to shell out big time for motherboard as well as the CPU. Fleeced is an understatement.

Although AMD can't hold a candle to Intel at the sharp end right now I will be going back when I change out my E8400 - the only Intel chip I've had since the P2-350!


November 15, 2011, 7:02 am

£1k for just the CPU and motherboard just seems utterly insane. Surely they can't really be that much faster than a CPU that is a fraction of the cost?


November 15, 2011, 3:22 pm

Whats with all the fuss over "insane" prices, Intel's top CPU has nearly always arrived at £1k and as for the motherboards H61/67, P67, Z68 prices are cheap for Intel, we have been spoilt.
No change here if you don't want to make a rig with £1k CPU then don't, 2500k is a cracker of a CPU and is currently £150ish.
As for going AMD currently the only reason is if you were on a seriously tight budget. Even then it's still tough to discount Intel

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