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

Final Thoughts
Haswell-E is here and if you are like me you are super excited about it. Not only does it bring in three pretty badass processors, but a new chipset which means a whole slew of new motherboards.

Before we get into talking about the X99 chipset let’s first talk about what a work-horse the Core i7-5960X really is! This is Intel’s first 8-core desktop processor meaning with Hyper-Threading you will have 16 threads. On top of that the chip has a massive 20 MB of L3 cache. Intel has lowered the clock speeds on this chip to 3.0 GHz base and 3.5 GHz boost, but that is understandable. Remember the amount of cores are more important than the actual speed here. That is quite evident in our multi-threaded tests where the Core i7-5960X came out on top each time and destroyed the competition. The chip was able to do this at a lower temperature than the Core i7-4960X and Core i7-4970K.

Is the 3.0 base clock and 3.5 GHz turbo speed not fast enough for you? Well you can easily overclock the Core i7-5960X. Because all of the chips in this series have unlocked base clock multipliers you can simply up the multiplier until the system becomes unstable. I was able to achieve a 1.4 GHz overclock all the way up to 4.4 GHz at 1.3V to the CPU. Not bad at all, especially on a brand new platform and I was using a micro-ATX motherboard.

Being that this is a new chip we also have a new chipset, the X99 chipset. The thing that stands out the most about this chipset is it is the first consumer platform to support DDR4 memory. On top of that you get more USB 3.0 ports and SATA ports than the previous generation. New X99 motherboards will also have newer connectivity options like M.2 slots, SATA Express ports and 802.11ac WiFi.

So is the Haswell-E and X99 platform for you? Well there are two, well actually three main reasons that I would suggest getting into this platform. The first is if you are doing very intensive computer work such as video editing and encoding. If you are using programs like Adobe Premier and HandBreak that take advantage of all CPU cores you are going to benefit from the higher core counts on these processors. If you are a gamer and want to run multiple graphics cards at the full bandwidth than this is platform to look at. Both the Core i7-5960X and Core i7-5930K give you 40 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes, while the Core i7-5820K only gives you 28. The third reason to get this platform is if you want the latest and greatest hardware available. Starting today this is the newest platform available.

Getting into this platform is no easy thing to do. You will be purchasing a new processor, motherboard and memory here. The Core i7-5960X that we are reviewing today will be selling for $999 and most X99 motherboards are going to start at $275 and go up from there. DDR4 is not going to be that cheap either. The entry level chip the Core i7-5820K is only $389, just $50 more than the Core i7-4790K, but remember you only get 28 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. So decide if the extra two CPU cores and more PCI-Express lanes are with spending the extra money.

At the end of the day the Core i7-5960X is just awesome and it sure earns the “Extreme Edition” name! If you are looking at doing any type of intensive computing or UltraHD+ gaming this is the processor to have. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” Processor a 10 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award.

Pros:
– 8 cores and 16 threads
– Unlocked base clock multiplier
– Easy and impressive overclocking
– Runs cooler than other chips
– Brings DDR4 to the consumer level

Cons:
– None that I found

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