Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E Review: New flagship, old flagship

Haswell has been out in the wild for 3 months now, while Sandy Bridge-E has remained Intel’s "ultimate" desktop platform for almost 2 years. However as we had anticipated, Intel is now ready for a refresh of its Extreme platform, but they won’t be skipping the Ivy Bridge architecture and moving straight to Haswell. Rather, the LGA2011 platform is getting an upgrade with new Ivy Bridge-E processors.

Enter the Core i7-4960X which still features 6 cores, 12 threads, 15MB L3 cache, quad-channel DDR3 memory and is supported by the same aging X79 chipset. This doesn’t sound very exciting, so what’s new?

Well, other than a slight bump in frequency, which is kind of pointless on an unlocked Extreme Edition processor, and the ability to natively support DDR3-1866 memory, not a lot. You do get the slight efficiency improvements of the Ivy Bridge architecture, and honestly Haswell didn't do much for the desktop anyway, so that's not something we'd criticize first thing.

Read: Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E Review: New flagship, old flagship

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i7 920 for another generation I guess saves money. It's really all about video cards (if the board eliminates bottlenecks) and SSDs now. Since I use R3E, I rely on revo-technology. The mobo's onboard RAID was 1x only

The ONLY thing I can think of are the chipset advances

intel SATA3, intel USB3 etc etc They are worthwhile, but not the chips themselves

BillyJack said,
Will the Haswell be worth an upgrade. Besides efficiency what will Haswell offer over i7-920 that will be worth while?

What!? You mean all this marketing over the last 4 years for the other generations is really just non-sense!?

The 920 is almost 5 years old.
the Haswell i7 4770K has:
up to 50% better multi-threaded performance
up to 20%+ better single threaded performance
Uses 35% less power. 84w TDP vs 130w

Improvements to motherboard chipset
USB 3.0
SATA 6
PCI-E 2.0
Support for 32GB RAM
Less power 4.1w TDP vs 24w

Ok. I guess that is plenty of upgrades. I can use the extra CPU for editing movies but as for the chipset improvements I think the only think useful for me is PCE-E 2.0. My 12GB of ram is good and my SSDs are fast. Then again when I went from HD to SSD it was a big improvement so maybe I might notice an improvement from an older SSD with SATA 5 to a newer one with SATA 6. I definitely would like the lower power and therefore should have a cooler and quitter PC. I guess there are some things to think about.

I'll see if there are any thermal improvements.... my i7-3960X when overclocked to 4.4GHz can get quite toasty, even with watercooling

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but since the launch of the i7 920 chips have only gotten small performance increases.

I've had my i7 for years and see no reason to upgrade. I really don't think I'd notice much of a difference

Very true. I read a few comparison reviews out on the Internet which stated that from the days of the 920 to the current crop of Core-i7's, the overall performance boost wasn't enough to make it worthwhile to upgrade.

Yep, still on my 3770k and from what I'm reading, not missing much performance and avoiding other troubles....I'm only interested in upgrading if I can see over 30%...even then it's a maybe, considering the cost.

The i7 4770K is about 50% faster than the 920 in multi threaded apps and 20% or more in many single threaded apps. Plus it runs much cooler with an 84w TDP instead of the 130w with the 920. I'd say Intel hasn't been sitting on their hands these new chips are a lot better.

gregerst said,
The i7 4770K is about 50% faster than the 920 in multi threaded apps and 20% or more in many single threaded apps. Plus it runs much cooler with an 84w TDP instead of the 130w with the 920. I'd say Intel hasn't been sitting on their hands these new chips are a lot better.

Intel have not been sitting on their hands at all. The issue is that the technology is pretty much at its limits and it's taking all they've got to squeeze that little bit of extra performance out.

Gone are the days of seeing 100% CPU increases over six months. You have sumed it up pretty well. 50% speed bump in multis, and 20% in singles......over 5 years!

Yep, a 5 year old chip still holds its own

What do you mean by "same aging X79 chipset" ? Would you rather want Intel to make new chipsets more often? I bought the brand new X58 when it was released and now i cannot find new boards with it and i have to trow away the memory and CPU... f**k that!

n_K said,
You have to throw away memory and CPU because you can't find a specific chipset... errr?

Dead Motherboard is the reason I guess, they don't make these with socket 755 anymore. If the P5E3 Premium in my server were to die, I'd be majorly ****ed/bummed too. I'd have no mobo for my QX9650.

You can update a chipset and still keep the same socket formfactor. Intel did it with the 67 and 77 series for Sandy/Ivy Bridge & Socket 1156.

They should have released a new chipset in Socket 2011 factor that supports USB 3 and other improvements...8x series.