Even though we're still a month or two away from the launch of Sandy Bridge-E, an influential hardware website managed to get a hold of a Core i7-3960X processors and put it through an in-depth preview, which includes benchmarks, in order to find out how well it stacks up against its competitors.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Core i7-3960X, this is the fastest Sandy Bridge-E chip to be released by Intel and it features six processing cores with a 3.3GHz base clock.
These can reach up to 3.9GHz when in Turbo Boost mode and thanks to the Hyper-Threading support the chip can handle 12 threads simultaneously.
Compared to its predecessors based on the Gulftown architecture, the new processor
also comes with an quad-core memory channel controller as well as with an impressive 15MB of Level 3 cache.
All these improvements, enable the CPU to surpass the scores obtained by Intel's
current flagship processor, the Core i7-990X, in both single- and multi-threaded apps, topping out in the 30% range in a heavily-threaded benchmarks like Blender.
Despite this performance improvement, Tom's Hardware is reserved about the success of this new architecture.
“Though Sandy Bridge-E promises notable gains in the server world, it’s destined to be less influential on the desktop, if only because the number of folks willing to pay a steep premium for two additional cores and an otherwise-similar platform is small.
“Sandy Bridge spoiled us, so a high-end part just doesn't have the impact on enthusiasts that Bloomfield had back in 2008,” reads the preview
Together with the performance preview of the Core i7-3960X, Tom's Hardware also shed some light regarding the features that will be supported by the first Sandy Bridge-E CPUs.
According to the publication, PCI Express 3.0 support
isn't included in the processor, while the X79 Express chipset also lost some of its more advanced features such as the 10 6Gbps SAS compatible drive ports or the additional four-lane link between the CPU and PCH dedicated to augmenting storage performance.
Those wanting to know more details about Sandy Bridge-E should definitely check out Tom's Hardware preview since its loaded with all sort of interesting info.