Intel Releases New-Generation Extreme Processors

Intel’s Sandy Bridge Goes Extreme

by Anton Shilov
11/14/2011 | 02:11 PM

Intel Corp. on Monday introduced new ultra high-end “Sandy Bridge-E” microprocessors as well as new LGA2011 platform designed for enthusiasts. With up to six cores, Hyper-Threading technology, quad-channel memory controller and latest Sandy Bridge micro-architecture the new central processing units (CPUs) are the highest-performing desktop chips currently available.


“We are excited to deliver the ultimate desktop platform to enthusiast PC users. With uncompromised performance, quad channel memory, amazing Turbo headroom and more robust PCI Express capabilities, this platform is sure to create a lot of excitement for our customers and the industry,” said Zane Ball, general manager for Intel’s desktop client platforms group.

The first Core i-series “Sandy Bridge-E” microprocessors to be released are Intel Core i7-3960X processor Extreme Edition (6 cores, 3.30GHz/3.90GHz, 15MB cache) and the Intel Core i7-3930K (6 cores, 3.20GHz/3.80GHz. 12MB cache) chips. The enthusiast-class central processing units have quad-channel memory controllers and require mainboards based on Intel X79 core-logic with LGA2011 socket. The Intel Core i7-3960X and the Intel Core i7-3930K are fully unlocked so overclockers and enthusiasts who want to modify performance settings can do so with simple utilities. Later on Intel will expand the family of LGA2011 microprocessors.


According to Intel’s own estimates, the new microprocessors from enthusiasts deliver from 12% to 65% higher performance compared to previous-generation extreme chips. Thanks to Sandy Bridge micro-architecture and other improvements, the new chips will offer tangible performance boosts compared to existing offerings from Intel.

With over 2 billion transistors, Intel’s latest client processors offer the processing power equivalent of approximately 365 thousand Intel 4004 processors. The 40th anniversary of the Intel microprocessor is being celebrated this month.

In addition to the new processors, Intel is launching a liquid-cooled CPU thermal solution. Co-developed with Asetek, this solution will provide robust system cooling while requiring zero maintenance. This solution has been optimized to work not only on the LGA2011 socket, but also the LGA1366 and 1155/1156 sockets. Intel is also releasing two new enthusaist motherboards - the Intel DX79SI and Intel DX79TO.

The Intel Core i7-3960X and the Intel Core i7-3930K are available now at 1000-unit quantities prices of $990 and $555, respectively.

According to Intel's internal estimates, Sandy Bridge E-series microprocessors will account for about 1% - 2% of Intel's desktop processor shipments by volume in 2H 2011. By contrast, Sandy Bridge chips for mainstream PCs will represent a half of Intel's desktop shipments in the second half of 2011.