Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Processor Preview


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Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Processor Preview

By David Ramsey

Manufacturer: Intel Corporation.
Product Name: Desktop Processor Extreme Edition
Model Number: Core i7-5960X
MSRP: $999.00 (B&H Photo)

Full Disclosure: Intel provided the product sample used in this article.

Intel has upped the ante for LGA2011 systems with the new LGA2011-V3 specification, comprising the new X99 chipset and Haswell-E CPUs. The top-end Core i7-5960X is Intel’s first consumer 8-core CPU and boasts an amazing 20 megabytes of on-chip cache and a new quad-channel DDR4 memory controller. As with the original “Sandy Bridge Extreme” Core i7-3960X CPU, the new Haswell-E systems will be very expensive. Benchmark Reviews does the work so you can see if they make sense for you.


This article will discuss the specifications and architecture of Haswell-E and the new X99 LGA2011-V3 platform, with performance tests to follow shortly.

Haswell-E Features

Features and specifications courtesy of Intel

  • 8 Cores, 16 Threads
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Supports LGA2011-V3 socket Intel X99 Express Chipset-based motherboards
  • Up to 20 MB Intel Smart Cache
  • Integrated Quad-Channel Memory Controller (also supports dual and triple channel)
  • 4 channels of DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Up to 40 PCI Express Gen 3 Lanes

Unlocked Intel 2014 Core i5/i7 Processor Family Specifications

Processor Base Clock Max Turbo Clock Cores/
Cache PCI-E lanes Memory TDP Socket Price
i7-5960X 3.0gHz 3.5gHz 8/16 20MB 40 4 channels DDR4-2133 140W 2011-V3 $999
i7-5930K 3.5gHz 3.7gHz 6/12 15MB 40 4 channels DDR4-2133 140W 2011-V3 $583
i7-5820K 3.3gHz 3.6gHz 6/12 15MB 28 4 channels DDR4-2133 140W 2011-V3 $389
i7-4790K 4.0gHz 4.4gHz 4/8 8MB 16 2 channels DDR3-1600 88W 1150 $339
i5-4690K 3.5gHz 3.9gHz 4/4 6MB 16 2 channels DDR3-1600 88W 1150 $242

The top three CPU are comprise the new Haswell-E family. Note how the base and turbo clocks go down with the number of cores; in fact, the 5960X has lower clocks than the original 3960X, which had base and turbo clocks of 3.3 and 3.9gHz, respectively. The quad-core 4790K has clock speeds more than 30% higher, which, given that its core architecture is the same, should mean better performance in 4-thread or lower workloads.

Also, the 140 watt TDP means that you’re going to need a good CPU cooler; Intel recommends water cooler for any over clocking. At least LGA2011-V3 cooler mounting holes haven’t changed!

If you’re planning to run multiple GPUs, notice that the Core i7-5820K has only 28 PCI-E lanes.


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  1. David Lean

    The reason(s) I deployed 3930K systems was for the memory & disk access. Yet few reviews consider this. The extra cores & threads are good. I’ve never needed to overclock them.
    Development, Data Analysis are the 2 compelling use cases that justify these systems.
    I think the 3 unique features are :-
    1. Ability to access 4 banks of RAM. Initially 64GB (8 * 8GB) & now 128GB
    2. Strong support for 4 * NVidia dual GPU’s (8 cores). (for CUDA)
    3. Good local disk access.

    Ideal for :-
    1. Developers & IT pros can run many Virtual Machines simulating an entire Data Center on one machine. Great for testing. Cheaper, quieter & cooler than a server.
    2. 8 CUDA cores provide the equiv of a small super computer. Good for Engineering, Medical, Mining simulations, & Finance Models
    3. 6/8 cores also good for Data Mining, BI, Compiling & other general purpose CPU bound tasks.
    High clock speed is v handy, but as large RAM limits overclocking potential, safer to just buy more cores.
    In short: These aren’t the chip for the Extreme Gamer.

    1. David Ramsey

      I agree with your assessment of what the new LGA2011-V3 systems are best suited for.

      However, I’m confused by your statement that “Good local disk access” is s unique feature of the platform. Could you explain this?

  2. Julian Duque

    I cant wait to see the benchmarks! Do you know when this line of processors will be available for purchase?

    1. David Ramsey

      It’s available for purchase right now. Look for performance figures in the next day or so.

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