Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) And X79 Platform Preview

Hardware Setup And Benchmarks

Test Hardware
Processors
Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz (33 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i7-990X (Gulftown) 3.46 GHz (26 * 133 MHz), LGA 1366, 12 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (Thuban) 3.3 GHz (16.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo CORE enabled, Power-savings enabled

AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6 G...Alright, that's just mean. Sorry guys, we'll have to wait a bit longer for benchmark results on this one.
Motherboard
Top Secret (LGA 2011) Intel X79

Asus Rampage III Formula (LGA 1366) Intel X58 Express, BIOS 0505

Asus Maximus IV Extreme (LGA 1155) Intel P67 Express, BIOS 0901

Asus Sabertooth 990FX (Socket AM3+) AMD 990FX/SB850, BIOS 0402
Memory
Crucial 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR3-1333, MT16JTF1G64AZ-1G4D1 @ DDR3-1600, -1333, and -1066 at 1.65 V
Hard Drive
Samsung 470-Series 256 GB, SATA 3 Gb/s
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
Power Supply
Cooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 280.26
3D Game Benchmarks And Settings
BenchmarkDetails
Metro 2033
Game Settings: High Quality Settings, PhysX: Off, AAA/4x AF, 4x AA/16x AF, Wait for vertical sync: disabled, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, 2560x1600, Demo: Built-in Benchmark Utility
F1 2010
Game Settings:  Ultra Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: Disabled, 8x AA, Anisotropic Filtering: disabled, Sync Every Frame: No, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, Demo: Custom Tom's Hardware Demo
Aliens Vs. Predator
Game Settings: Ultra Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: Disabled, 8x AA, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x, Vertical Sync: Disabled, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, Demo: AvP Demo Run
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
iTunesVersion: 10.4.1, 64-bit
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Video Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.94
Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference v2
Version: 2.0.0.1555
MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio:
MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Application Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
WinRARVersion 4.01
RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZip 14Version 14.0 Pro (8652)
WinZIP Commandline Version 3, ZIPX, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
7-Zip
Version 9.2
LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5
Video length 2min 21s, Export to H.264 Blu-ray
Source 960x720, Output 1280x720
Adobe After Effects CS 5.5
Create Video which includes 3 Streams
Frames: 210, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously: on
Cinebench
Version 11.5 Build CB25720DEMO
CPU Test single and multi threaded
BlenderVersion: 2.54 beta
Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1
Adobe Photoshop CS 5.5 (64-Bit)Version: 11
Filtering a 16 MB TIF (15 000x7266), Filters:, Radial Blur (Amount: 10, Method: zoom, Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
ABBYY FineReaderVersion: 10 Professional Build (10.0.102.82)
Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4
3DMark 11
Version 1.0.2
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version: 17.80
Processor Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwith


The Core i7-3960X in our lab is a C0-stepping chip, which is fully operational, but not what we hear Intel plans to ship (the C1 stepping, which partners are now receiving, is said to be a more scalable part). As a result, remember that this is a preview run on pre-production hardware.

Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E)
Active Cores
6
5
4
3
2
1
Maximum Frequency
3.9 GHz
3.9 GHz
3.8 GHz
3.8 GHz
3.6 GHz
3.6 GHz
Number of Bins Per Core
6
6
5
5
3
3
TDP
130 W


I didn’t bother trying to overclock. Without an LGA 2011-compatible heatsink, it was difficult enough to keep the massive (comparatively) Core i7-3960X running cool. In fact, I couldn’t get a stable run of 3ds Max 2010 at stock settings; it’d shut down every time. With that said, initial estimates from reliable sources suggest the platform should be capable of BCLK settings in excess of 155 MHz if you’re using a multiplier-locked processor.

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  • AdrianPerry
    It's a shame Deus Ex: Human Revolution wasn't included in the benchmark testing since we know CPU plays a very big role in the FPS the game can deliver. Other than that, interesting article :)
    0
  • mathew7
    On the "Hardware Setup and Benchmarks" page, please correct the "Active cores" row with the rest of the table. It should be 1/2 active cores have 6 TB bins and 5/6 have 3 TB bins. After all, it's with 1 active core that 3.9GHz is allowed.
    0
  • CPU666d1
    Bad luck I can't afford to buy any of these Sandy-E chipsets yet. The Benchmarks ain't too bad either.
    0
  • ps3hacker12
    too bad its likely to cost three to four times what the current sandy bridge setup costs (a 2600K for example...)
    1
  • icehot
    Hrm, so basically a little bit of improvement, but mostly extra pci-express lanes, and 2 extra cores, along with additional power draw... Think i'll stick to my 2600k until ivybridge comes out and see what that brings.
    0
  • mathew7
    icehotHrm, so basically a little bit of improvement, but mostly extra pci-express lanes, and 2 extra cores, along with additional power draw... Think i'll stick to my 2600k until ivybridge comes out and see what that brings.


    You forgot about the additional 2 chanels of RAM. Consider 4 identical modules. With LGA1155, the additional 2 modules (3 and 4) offer only additional RAM, but do not affect performance. On LGA2011, the additional 2 modules also increase memory access speed (think about a 4-lane highway vs 2-lane).
    -1
  • icehot
    mathew7You forgot about the additional 2 chanels of RAM. Consider 4 identical modules. With LGA1155, the additional 2 modules (3 and 4) offer only additional RAM, but do not affect performance. On LGA2011, the additional 2 modules also increase memory access speed (think about a 4-lane highway vs 2-lane).


    That's cool, except I have 2 sticks of 4gb's, I still can't see a need to go beyond 8gb (at home at least). Despite this though, looking at the benchmarks is incredibly disappointing, clock for clock it's generally the same as the 2600k, the only improvement is if something requires 6 cores... For gaming, we all know the additional pci express lanes even in crossfire makes very little difference, maybe a bit more in quadfire, but still, not sure if it's worth it
    0
  • Gonemad
    I am more concerned if I should start my milling machine for a new copper brick matching the new socket and lineup. We are back at 130W TDP guys. The last generation on that TDP was less than forgiving on air cooling. Or, should it be no concern? Still, that i7-2600k is still crushing the bang-per-buck charts. The new chip should be smashing the previous ones with over 20% difference; instead they are trading punches here and there.
    From my POV, the 2600k is still the best upgrade right now.
    0
  • bobwya
    mathew7You forgot about the additional 2 chanels of RAM. Consider 4 identical modules. With LGA1155, the additional 2 modules (3 and 4) offer only additional RAM, but do not affect performance. On LGA2011, the additional 2 modules also increase memory access speed (think about a 4-lane highway vs 2-lane).


    Hey dude,

    Hate to break it to you but if you don't need all that memory bandwidth then it's like buying a Ferrari to pootle about town - at 30mph.

    Don't forget that for regular Desktop CPU stuff (web browsing, gaming, etc.) it's memory latency that counts - not bandwidth...

    CPU Architecture #101
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  • Anonymous
    Large amounts of RAM is great for HD Video editing and even more so for the big sample libraries people who make music on their PC use (eg. NI Kontakt, Vienna Symphonic Library, Synthogy Ivory).

    It would be great if all future CPU benchmarks included the DAWbench benchmark. Especially those that feature products not targeted at gamers but at creative people.
    0
  • mathew7
    Anonymous said:
    Hey dude,

    Hate to break it to you but if you don't need all that memory bandwidth then it's like buying a Ferrari to pootle about town - at 30mph.

    Don't forget that for regular Desktop CPU stuff (web browsing, gaming, etc.) it's memory latency that counts - not bandwidth...

    CPU Architecture #101

    Except that the examples you gave, even memory latency does not affect it much. It's hidden pretty good behing cache.
    But turn to compiling a big project on an SSD(like Android 4 which they say requires 16GB or RAM), and the additional 2 channels give a nice boost. Also video compression scales good with bandwidth.


    And those that have the money and go for "Extreme", those would drive a Ferrary in town at 30mph (ok, maybe 60 if traffic is light).
    0