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LGA 2011 Processor Model Lineup

Intel is not going to spoil the enthusiasts with a large variety of processor models for LGA 2011. Until Q1 2012 you will only have two six-core processors to choose from: Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition and Core i7-3930K. These processors will be priced at $990 and $555 respectively, but will have minimal differences in specifications such as 100 MHz difference in clock speed and 25% difference in the size of L3 cache.


Boxed Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition and Core i7-3930K CPUs

Later on they will add one more model with a more affordable price tag – Core i7-3820. This processor will have a more unique character: it will have only four active computational cores. It is expected to cost around $300.

This is exactly how Intel pictures their LGA 2011 model lineup at this time – 3 CPU models:

The interesting thing is that Intel assigned 3000-series model names to their new processors, which may seem to indicate that they are based on the third generation of Core microarchitecture. However, in reality it isn’t true: they are based on the second-generation of Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. So it is something like marketing grotesque trick aimed at ensuring that the today’s newcomers, which should remain the fastest processors for enthusiasts at least until the end of next year, do not look obsolete once the new Ivy Bridge come out.

Judging by the last three numbers in the processor model name, the manufacturer maintains sufficient room for maneuvering in case they decided to launch even faster models later on. Some time ago there was a rumor that next year Intel would use their new Sandy Bridge-E design to launch eight-core Core i7 processors, and that is totally possible from a technological standpoint. However, this move makes not a lot of sense from marketing prospective, because the eight-core competitor solutions were already completely defeated even by the quad-core Core i7 CPUs. So there is actually very little hope that the desktop LGA 2011 processors will ever take advantage of all eight cores originally available in the semiconductor die. However, the most dedicated enthusiasts will always have the opportunity to get a Xeon E5 with eight-cores, which will most likely work just fine in desktop LGA 2011 mainboards. Although in this case they will have to invest about $1500-$2000 into the processor alone and put up with limited overclocking functionality.

There will be no overclocking limitations imposed on any of the announced new Core i7 processors: both six-core Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K have unlocked clock frequency multipliers. The quad-core Core i7-3820 model will have a certain maximum limited by the supported multipliers, but since LGA 2011 platform allows adjusting the base clock frequency, the multiplier limitations will hardly be a serious problem for overclocking fans.

 
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