Intel Core i7-5960X, -5930K And -5820K CPU Review: Haswell-E Rises
By Chris Angelini, Igor Wallossek
August 29, 2014 9:00 AM
A little more than 10 years ago, Intel introduced the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4 GHz. It boasted one Hyper-Threaded core, 512 KB of L2 cache, a 2 MB L3 cache, and a quad-pumped 800 MHz front-side bus. Haven't seen that term in a while, have you? Back then, the Pentium was manufactured at 130 nm and composed of 178 million transistors. Intel sold the thing for $1000, dropped it into the now-ancient Socket 478 interface, and gave the chip a thermal ceiling just over 100 W.
None of us could have guessed that, a decade later, Intel’s cutting-edge flagship would sport a lower base clock rate, accelerating to 3.5 GHz only in situations when thermal headroom allows. And yet, that’s exactly where the new Core i7-5960X lands. Of course, the difference is we’re dealing with an immensely more sophisticated piece of technology, and the world now knows frequency isn’t always the answer to improving performance.
The Core i7-5960X plays host to eight physical cores able to work on 16 threads concurrently by virtue of Hyper-Threading. So, applications optimized to break tasks into pieces are sped up through parallelism. Each core has its own 32 KB L1 instruction and data caches, along with 256 KB of L2 space. A massive 20 MB of L3 cache is shared between them, working out to the magical 2.5 MB per core Intel’s architects aim for.