Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Processor Review

If you have been following our news section for the past month we have been talking about Intel’s Ivy Bridge-E processors a lot. Enthusiasts have been waiting quite a while for Intel’s next high-end desktop chips and they are finally here! Today we get the chance to take a look at the big daddy of the group the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition. This processor features six cores with a base speed of 3.6 GHz and a turbo speed of 4.0 GHz with 15 MB of cache. You will have 40 PCI-Express lanes for building a pretty insane gaming machine or workstation. There is also support for 4 channels of DDR3-1866 memory. How is this chip improved over the previous generation? Will this be the chip for your next build? Read on as we take a look…

Special thanks to Intel for providing us with the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Processor to review.

Intel Core i7-4960X Features
– 6 cores, 12 threads
– Fully unlocked for performance tuning
– Intel Turbo Boost 2.0
– Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
– Supports LGA 2011 socket Intel X79 Express Chipset-based motherboards
– Up to 15MB Intel Smart Cache
– Integrated memory controller
— 4 channels of DDR3 1866 MHz, 1DPC
– Intel AVX and AES
– 40 PCI-Express Lanes
– SSE4.1 & SSE4.2 Instructions

Intel uses a “Tick-Tock” system for their processors. They follow every microarchitectural change with a die shrink of the process technology. Every “tick” is a shrinking of process technology of the previous microarchitecture and every “tock” is a new microarchitecture. Ivy Bridge-E is “tick” to go with the “tock” of Sandy Bridge-E. So we move to a shrink die of 22 nm instead of 32 nm that was used for Sandy Bridge.


You also want to keep in mind that this is an enthusiast product. The recently released Haswell processors and previously Ivy Bridge processors are made for the mainstream so they will have limitations. With Ivy Bridge-E you are getting the largest feature set without the limitations. For example with Intel’s i7-4770K Haswell processor you are getting 4 cores and 8 threads, while here you are getting 6 cores and 12 threads. Haswell supports dual channel memory and here we have support for quad channel memory.


The new Ivy Bridge-E processor family is made up of 3 different chips. Of course today we are going to be checking out the flagship chip the i7-4960X, but there is also the i7-4930K and the i7-4820K. All of these processors are unlocked which is indicated by the “K” at the end of the model name. The specifications as well as pricing for the processors is listed below.


The retail versions of the processor will ship in a box much like you see below. The processor will not ship with a cooling solution. Intel will be selling their own liquid cooling solution separately for around $85-100. Keep in mind these processors use the same LGA1150 socket as the previous generation so your older CPU coolers will have no issues fitting.


Our processor is of course a review sample, but here is a quick shot.


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