I have to admit that the new Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition processor is somewhat boring. And there are two reasons for that. First, there is nothing principally new about it. All we have is simply a manufacturer-overclocked previous flagship CPU model. It results in a pretty expect performance boost of 2-4%, slight increase in the power consumption and no real improvement in the overclocking potential. Second, the top LGA 2011 processors do not have any real competitors. In case of heavy multi-threaded load these six-core monsters leave all LGA 1155 as well as Socket AM3+ processors very far behind.
However, no one promised us anything magical here. The launch of Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition is more of an image move. Intel simply reminded us of the LGA 2011 platform and the fact that it is today’s fastest desktop configuration available. Of course, the existing LGA 2011 users will not rush after the new CPU, because it won’t offer them anything new. However, it may appeal to those who are in the process of building a new high-performance desktop targeted for resource-demanding professional tasks among other things, but who haven’t yet joined the LGA 2011 eco-system. If you are one of those users, we have great news: Core i7-3970X comes at a standard price for Intel’s flagship processors of $1000, so it makes absolutely no sense to even consider Core i7-3960X at this point.
At the same time, the launch of the new Core i7-3970X also gives us cause for concern. This CPU still uses the old 32 nm Sandy Bridge-E design, while the low-end and mainstream users have long been able to enjoy the new Ivy Bridge microarchitecture and more energy-efficient 22 nm semiconductor devices. As we see, Intel is not in any hurry to share their innovations with the flagship platform. The recent launch of the Core i7-3970X indicates that it will still be a while before we see new advanced six-core Ivy Bridge-E LGA 2011 processors.