Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor Review

We have been hearing about Intel’s next-generation Haswell-E processors for some time now and they have finally arrived. For people running older HEDT (high-end desktop) systems it has been quite a while waiting around for an upgrade. The Haswell-E HEDT (high-end desktop) lineup is at hand and it is made up three high end enthusiast processors, the Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K, and Core i7-5820K. Today we are going to be taking a look at the flagship processor of this group or as I call it the big daddy of the bunch, the Core i7-5960X. This extreme edition processor features 8 cores, 16 threads, 20 MB of L3 cache, a 40-lane PCI-Express root complex and DDR4 support. This will be Intel’s first 8-core desktop processor as well as the first consumer platform to support DDR4 memory, so it is a very exciting time for people looking to upgrade to the newest offering. The Core i7-5960X will have a base frequency of 3.0 GHz and a turbo frequency of 3.5 GHz. This processor is not for the faint of heart though; it has an MSRP of $999! ThinkComputers is excited to get this tough guy on the test bench and see what he can do!

Special thanks to Intel for providing us with the Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor to review.

Core i7-5960X and X99 Chipset Overview
As I said this processors is the flagship processor in the Haswell-E lineup. The processor will have 8 cores and with Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology that means that you will have 16 logical cores. The processor is also fully unlocked, has 20 MB of Intel Smart Cache, features Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology and has 40 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. The chip comes will a base frequency of 3.0 GHz and will boost all the way up to 3.5 GHz.

Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor

As I said there are two other processors in the lineup, they are the Core i7-5930K and the Core i7-5820K. These are both six-core processors. The Core i7-5930K will have a base frequency of 3.5 GHz and boost up to 3.7 GHz while the Core i7-5820K will have a base frequency of 3.3 GHz and boost up to 3.6 GHz. While their speeds are different both chips will feature 15 MB of L3 cache, but the big difference between the two is that the Core i7-5820K only has 28 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes compared to the 40 the other two processors have. So the trade-off is that you get a six-core processor instead of a 4-core, which is normally what the lowest processor in the HEDT family is. Looking at prices for the Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K and Core i7-5820K they are $999, $583, and $389 respectively. So that puts the lowest chip only $50 away from the Core i7-4790K. All three chips have unlocked base multipliers and have a TDP of 140W.

Intel Haswell-E Pricing

The new Haswell-E processors support the LGA 2011-3 socket. This socket is much like the LGA 2011 socket, but is is different so you will not be able to use one of these processors on an older Z79 motherboard. And in turn you will not be able to use an Ivy Bridge-E processor on one of the newer X99 motherboards. Because of the new socket we have a new chipset which is the X99 chipset. The biggest change in this chipset is that it supports 4 DDR4 memory channels up to 2133 MHz. The chipset also gives you more SATA 6GB/s ports (10 total) and 14 USB ports (6 USB 3.0, 8 USB 2.0).

Intel Haswell-E X99 Chipset

Check out the graph below to see the major difference between the two platforms.

X99 vs X79 Chipsets

The Core i7-5960X is built on the 22 nm process featuring Tri-Gate 3-D transistors. The chip has a transistor count of 2.6 billion and a die size of 17.6 mm x 20.2 mm. Below is an overview of the die of the processor.

Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor

The processors that you buy at the store on online will come in a retail box, but we received our chip directly from Intel so its just the chip itself. Here is a quick shot we took before it was installed in our test system.

Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor

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