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Haswell-E Test: Intel Core i7-5960X

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Andreas Stegmüller

Page 1: Haswell-E Test: Intel Core i7-5960X

intel i7 5960x test teaserAlmost exactly a year after the first "Ivy Bridge-E" CPUs, Intel finally lifts the curtain on the successor generation: the Intel Core i7-5960X, the Core i7-5930K and the Intel Core i7-5820K have been officially released. The chip manufacturer will not only be upgrading the enthusiast segment to the current "Haswell" architecture, but also introduce the first DDR4 RAM and eight-core CPUs in desktops. In addition, they changed the socket, also refreshing the X79 chipset, which was already dated at its introduction. In this article we take a closer look at the new flagship, the Intel Core i7-5960X.

In recent weeks, Intel released a variety of new CPUs with the new "Haswell Refresh" and the "Devils Canyon" platforms. However, they were far from being groundbreaking. The former is merely a speedbump for the first "Haswell" CPUs, making them only a few hundred megahertz faster; in turn, the "Devils Canyon" CPUs were meant to achieve significantly better results when overclocking. Although the Intel Core i7-4790K (base clock: 4.0 GHz, turbo clock: 4.4 GHz) is one of the fastest Core CPUs, only to a limited extent will it make the heart of more ambitious overclockers beat faster. Too small are the clock speed increases, at least in our test pattern. The "Haswell-E" CPU series presented today will be much more interesting in that respect.

It's the first time that Intel releases an eight-core CPU and DDR4 support for the desktop segment, while at the same time refreshing the X79 chipset. The new X99 generation provides the now modern USB 3.0 interfaces ex-factory, as well as a larger number of SATA III ports. In the previous chipset they had to be retrofitted, or implemented by additional chips as a few motherboard manufacturers did. Compared to the Z97 chipset, the new X99 platform provides more lanes, which should be noticeable especially with fast graphics cards in multi-GPU mode. However, this does not apply to all the three new CPUs, as we will show later.

On the following pages we will introduce the three new "Haswell-E" CPU in detail and explain the most important features of DDR4, the X99 chipset and the "Haswell" architecture.