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We’ve never been particularly excited about the LGA2011 platform. It has been a niche product since its very inception, targeted at the narrow category of users who need six-core CPUs. And six-core CPUs are only really necessary for high-performance workstations. In everyday applications, particularly in games, four cores is just enough if we talk about Intel CPUs.

The desktop LGA2011 platform is an adaptation of a server solution, which means a lot of issues like the low performance of the memory controller at single-threaded loads or the high power consumption. The biggest issue is that the platform evolves too slowly. When the early Sandy Bridge-E processors hit the market, we had the desktop LGA1155 platform with Sandy Bridge CPUs and there were no questions about the more advanced version of a regular platform. The situation is different now. The new mass platform LGA1150 offers more up-to-date processors based on the Haswell microarchitecture whereas the enthusiast-targeted platform has CPUs with the older Ivy Bridge design.

Besides a certain emotional dissonance, it narrows the scope of applications the LGA2011 platform is optimal for. As we've seen in our performance tests, the Core i7-4820K, the junior quad-core Ivy Bridge-E model, cannot compete against the Core i7-4770K and thus looks completely pointless. The midrange Core i7-4930K with six cores is on average comparable to the senior quad-core Haswell-based model except for the final rendering and video editing tests. The senior $1000 Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition deserves its flagship status, yet its advantage over the Core i7-4770K is small in most of benchmarks while the price difference is substantial. Thus, an LGA1150 configuration with a top-end CPU is going to be more optimal in most cases, even for gamers and enthusiasts.

Granted, the Ivy Bridge-E have improved over the Sandy Bridge-E generation. They are 5 to 10% faster, need considerably less power, and offer the same or better overclocking potential. But the Ivy Bridge-E design, although formally new, is in fact outdated already. So if you plan to buy such a CPU and prefer the LGA2011 platform, you should be aware that you pay for an old product that lacks many benefits offered by the more up-to-date CPUs.

It should also be added that the Intel X79, the only chipset for Ivy Bridge-E CPUs, hasn't been updated since times immemorial. It doesn't support USB 3.0 and offers but two SATA 6 Gbit/s ports. Of course, mainboard makers can make up for this deficiency by installing a lot of onboard controllers, but this makes mainboards more expensive and may provoke certain compatibility or performance issues.

So, we can only recommend the current implementation of the LGA2011 platform with the six-core Ivy Bridge-E processors to users who need maximum multithreaded performance or high amounts of system memory (as this platform can offer as many as eight DIMM slots). In other words, today’s LGA2011 CPUs are optimal for workstations rather than for ordinary desktop PCs. And when it comes to workstations, Intel’s Xeon E5 v2 series may be a better choice as they offer eight or even ten computing cores.

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