Intel's $1000 flagship CPU exists again, in the form of the 3960X Extreme Edition

Subject: Processors | November 14, 2011 - 12:12 PM |
Tagged: Intel, sandy bridge-e, x79, 3960x extreme edition

It has been a while since Intel has released a CPU at $1000, which has felt a little strange as historically they've had a flagship processor in that price range.  Sangy Bridge E spells the return to this price point with the Core-i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU.  The basic stats will make you drool, 6 cores and 12 threads of 32nm, 130W TDP CPU with a base clock of 3.3GHz, Turbo speed of 3.9GHz and 15MB of shared cache.  The benchmarks however leave something to be desired; certainly it is faster than the original Sandy Bridge but it does not leave the competition eating its dirt.  Single GPU gamers probably won't even notice a change from previous chips, however with the extra power of the 3960X paired with the amazing amount of PCIe lanes available on the X79 series of motherboards, multi-GPU users may benefit much more from this chip.  That still doesn't change [H]ard|OCP's final comment about this chip, "Sandy Bridge E, maximizing BitTorrent ratios, one desktop at a time."

Catch Ryan's full review here.

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"Intel debuts its $1000+ Extreme Edition 3960X processor parroting how great it is for the gamer and enthusiast. With 6 cores and 12 threads, a new motherboard and chipset platform, and quad channel DDR3, Intel as done the impossible, given us everything we don't want, and nothing we do want."

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Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Sandy Bridge-E is just what you expect

Introduction

It has been more than three years since Intel released the first Core i7 processor built around the Nehalem CPU architecture along with the X58 chipset.  It quickly became the platform of choice for the enthusiast market (gamers and overclockers), and remained in that role even as the world of processors evolved around it with the release of Westmere and Sandy Bridge.  Yes, we have been big supporters of the Sandy Bridge Core i7 parts for some time as the "new" platform of choice for gamers, but part of us always fondly remembered the days of Nehalem and X58. 

Well, Intel shared the sentimentl and this holiday they are officially unveiling the Sandy Bridge-E platform and the X79 chipset.  The "E" stands for enthusiast in this case and you'll find that many of the same decisions and patterns apply from the Nehalem release to this one.  Nehalem and X58 was really meant as a workstation design but the performance and features were so good that Intel wanted to offer it to the high-end consumer as well. Sandy Bridge-E is the same thing - this design is clearly built for the high-profit areas of computing including workstation and servers but those that want the best available technology will find it pretty damn attractive as well. 

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But what actually makes a Sandy Bridge-E processor (now going with the Core i7-3xxx model naming scheme) different from the Sandy Bridge CPUs we have come to love since it was released in January of this year?

The Sandy Bridge-E Architecture

The answer might surprise you, but truthfully not a whole lot has changed.  In fact, from a purely architectural stand point (when looking at the x86 processor cores), Sandy Bridge-E looks essentially identical to the cores found in currently available Sandy Bridge CPUs.  You will see the same benefits of the additional AVX instruction set in applications that take advantage of it, a shared L3 cache that exists between all of the cores for data coherency and the ring bus introduced with Sandy Bridge is still there to move data between the cores, cache and uncore sections of the die.

Click here to continue reading our review of the new Sandy Bridge-E processor, the Core i7-3960X!!

Just Delivered: 64GB of Corsair DDR3 - Ready for Sandy Bridge-E!!

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Memory | November 7, 2011 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: corsair, vengeance, sandy bridge-e, just delivered

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

Sometimes we receive interesting packages in the mail and when we get things from Corsair, we tend to pay attention.  Oddly, I had not seen a box quite this size before.  What comes from Corsair in the shape of a cube?

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As it turns out, it was four 16GB DDR3 memory kits, preparing our team for the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E platform reviews!

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Each kit includes 4 modules, getting us ready for the quad-channel memory controller on the upcoming Intel CPU.  Corsair included both Vengeance and Vengeance LP kits for us, offering an option is lower profile for potentially larger heatsinks.

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For motherboards that will ship with 8 DIMM slots, this allows us to test configurations as high as 32GB!!  We are going to be covering all of these bases for you in the coming weeks before launch but don't worry - we are going test the standard 4 x 2GB configurations as well.  :)

Gigabyte Infusing X79 Motherboards With 3D UEFI BIOS

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2011 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, x79, pattsburg, Intel, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, uefi

Many motherboard manufacturers have phased out the old school BIOS in favor of a shiny graphical user interface (GUI) UEFI BIOS that adds support for booting from larger capacity hard drives and presenting configuration screens that are able to be navigated with mouse or touch controls. Gigabyte has been somewhat quiet on the UEFI BIOS front, until now that is. Starting with Intel’s new X79 chipset based motherboards, the company will begin using a new “3D BIOS.”

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Fortunately, red and cyan glasses won’t be required for Gigabyte’s new UEFI BIOS. Instead, the BIOS is only “3D” in the same sense that a computer game is 3D -- meaning a 3D perspective viewed through a 2D window of sorts (the monitor) and this is a good thing.

The way Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS works involves displaying a photo of the user’s motherboard with various hot-spots that display content sensitive information and configuration options when hovered over and clicked on respectively. For example, when hovering over and clicking on the SATA ports in the rotate-able photo of the board, users are presented with options to set the SATA controller mode to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode. Also, when clicking on the CPU area, the user is able to adjust frequency, voltage, and timing settings for the CPU and RAM. Further, context sensitive help is available for all the various options in each dialog.

For those that prefer a more traditional text based approach, Gigabyte is also including an advanced mode for enthusiasts who like to dig into every setting possible. The advanced mode looks like one would expect a BIOS to - a text based UI with minimal distractions. The ability to use the mouse for navigation is still present, however.

The 3D motherboard will reflect the actual physical motherboard and can be easily rotated to admire the shiny interface. It is certainly an interesting angle and should help new users navigate and find the settings they need. Whether it will be enough to help differentiate the product or not remains to be seen. A video showing off the new 3D BIOS is available below, and more photos can be found here.

Source: Anandtech

Asus Shows Off New X79 Republic Of Gamers Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: x79, socket 2011, sandy bridge-e, ROG, asus

Asus recently unveiled a new X79 socket 2011 motherboard specifically for Sandy Bridge-E, and it looks rather impressive. The new motherboard is a red and black affair that hold several overclocking friendly features and plenty of expansion options. Dubbed the Rampage IV Extreme, the X79 motherboard is part of Asus' Republic of Gamers lineup.

The new motherboard supports Intel's new socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 quad channel RAM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 slots (one rated at PCI-E x16 speeds and four at X8 speeds), one further PCI-E 3.0 x1 (physical) slot, and a host of SATA ports. Specifically, the X79 chipset powers two SATA 3 6Gbps and four SATA 2 3Gbps ports while the ASMedia controller powers an additional two SATA 3 6Gbps ports.

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Rear IO on the board includes eight USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, ROG Connect and CMOS reset buttons, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6Gbps ports, Gigabit LAN, Realtek audio powered 5.1 surround sound via five 3.5mm jacks or an optical output. The motherboard further supports Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR.

While the basic specifications of the motherboard are really nice, the most important aspects of the republic of gamers Rampage IV Extreme board are the overclocking features and diagnostics, and there are quite a few. Around the processor socket, there are chokes rated up to 50 amps and have VRMs cooled by a large black heatspreader. The RAM power circuitry, CPU VRMs, and chipsets are all cooled by heatspreaders and connected by aluminum heatpipes. The only issue that some people might run into is with CPU coolers that have wide bases as the heatpipe connecting the VRMs and chipset heatspreader is close to the processor socket, though most coolers will likely work fine.

Moving to the right of the Sandy Bridge-E socket, Asus has provided several handy overclocking tools including the "MEMOK!" RAM diagnostic button that will either reset the settings to get the board to boot or switch to overclocked profiles if activated after the motherboard has gotten past POST. Above that is a set of 4 dip switches to enable or disable the various PCI-E slots. A power and reset button are above those switches and will come in handy for overclocking the board outside of a typical case. Further, there is a diagnostic LED display in the upper right as well as a switch to enable a slow boot mode when using LN2 (liquid nitrogen) cooling. On the voltage front, there are numerous measurement points for CPU, RAM, and chipset voltages. Finally, next to the SATA ports is a odd looking four slot block that allows enthusiasts to measure temperatures of the various physical temperature diodes on the motherboard using "K-type thermocouple" device.

Needless to say, this new X79 based motherboard looks to be living up to its Republic of Gamers heritage thanks to its slew of overclocking and expansion features. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of this shiny bit of hardware, check out this VR-Zone story.

Source: VR-Zone

EVGA Shows Off Drool Worthy Dual Xeon Sandy Bridge-E SR3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 21, 2011 - 10:46 AM |
Tagged: xeon, x79, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, motherboard, Intel, evga

Jacob Freeman of EVGA Google + fame recently posted a teaser photo of a certain shiny piece of X79 chipset baked silicon in the form of a new SR3 Super Record series motherboard. This monster of a board is packed to the brim with features, and mid tower cases need not apply.

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Starting at the top of the board and working our way down, we are presented with not one but two socket 2011 Sandy Bridge-E Xeon processor sockets! One processor will have access to eight DDR3 DIMM slots while the other will have access to four DDR3 DIMM slots.  While the RAM configuration may seem odd, EVGA wanted to make the transition from the boards SR2 predecesor as easy as possible, by allowing users to transfer all 12, triple channel DIMMs to the new SR3 motherboard.  When all 12 RAM slots are populated, the board will run in triple channel mode, and when four or eight slots are populated, the motherboard will utilize the new quad channel interface.  The RAM will be fed power via a eight phase PWM (pulse width modulation) circuitry. The board also features two eight pin EPS and two six pin PCI-E connectors, and seven PCI-E 3.0 slots that are all capable of running at least PCI-E 3.0 x8 and four of them are capable of providing PCI-E 3.0 x16 bandwidth, more than enough for even the beefiest SLI setup.

On the storage and IO front, the SR3 motherboard has 14 SATA ports, HD Audio via six 3.5mm jacks, USB 3.0 ports (the total amount is unclear), and eSATA support.  The bottom right corner of the board lies a handy diagnostic screen to report error codes.  Further, the motherboard will come with the new UEFI BIOS.  Mr. Freeman states that the x79 motherboard is fully furnished with solid state capacitors from Sanyo (specifically POSCAP).

In short, this motherboard is a total beast. Please excuse me as I try to remove my jaw from the floor cartoon style.

Source: EVGA

Overclocking the next generation of Intel CPUs

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2011 - 08:24 AM |
Tagged: sandy bridge-e, overclocking, lynx point, Ivy Bridge, Intel, haswell

 Perhaps not everybody has fond memories of overclocking past architectures with jumpers on motherboards and needing to be able to do math to determine what overclock you want and more importantly if it took or if the system bailed back to default clocks.  Those days are behind us now, as the BIOS becomes the UEFI and you can use a mouse to affect changes on your system timings.  Bulldozer does offer some complexity to those looking for a challenge but for most it is the unlocked Sandy Bridge processors that are the go to chip for overclockers.  According to information VR-Zone picked up at IDF, overclocking the upcoming families of processors will be even easier.  Intel has changed quite a bit over recent years, from the extreme of locking all their processor frequencies to making it easy for the enthusiast to push their CPU beyond design specs.

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"Ivy Bridge CPUs decouple the main clock finally, following what the coming Sandy Bridge - E Socket 2011 is also implementing. Now, you can overclock the cores and memory without worrying about affecting the I/O and PCIe clocks. But then comes the more interesting piece news. A year later, in early 2013, the pinnacle of Intel's 22 nm process show off, the initial Haswell processor, is expected to go another step further, where CPU core, GPU, memory, PCI and DMI ratios are all set independently here, on top of fine grain BCLK base clock available within the Lynx Point chipset."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: VR-Zone

Corsair Releasing a 32 GB Quad Channel DDR3 Memory Kit

Subject: Memory | October 13, 2011 - 07:56 AM |
Tagged: ram, memory, corsair, sandy bridge-e

Sandy Bridge-E and its quad channel memory is nearly upon us. Corsair is gearing up with a new 32 GB DDR3 memory kit. The Dominator GT memory kit is comprised of four 8 GB DDR3 DIMMs (Dual In-Line Memory Module) that the company claims are from strenuously tested and highly binned chips.  Specifically, the DDR3 kit has a part number of CMT32GX3M4X1866C9.

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The new modules feature Corsair’s removable red and black DHX heatsinks and a RAM fan. The quad channel kit is rated to run at 2400 Mhz with CAS latencies of 9-10-9-27, and all while running at a mere 1.5 volts. Further, the memory is also rated to run with CAS latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1300 Mhz; however, having the higher latencies and corresponding higher speed of 2400 Mhz will result in better overall performance versus the lower latency settings.

The 32 GB quad channel memory kit is available now with an MSRP of $999.99 USD. How much RAM do you currently use in your systems?

Source: Corsair

Podcast #171 - X79 Motherboard Show and Tell, a 5th Core in NVIDIA's Kal-El, Weekly News, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: Editorial | September 22, 2011 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: x79, sandy bridge-e, podcast, nvidia, kal-el, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #171 - 9/22/2011

Join us this week as we have a X79 Motherboard Show and Tell, a 5th Core in NVIDIA's Kal-El, Weekly News, Viewer Questions and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:13:36

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:36 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Stay Tuned for a contest!!
  6. 0:02:05 X79 Show and Tell!
  7. 0:13:00 NVIDIA Reveals a 5th CPU Core in Upcoming Kal-El Tegra SoC
  8. 0:24:33 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:47 IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner
  10. 0:28:12 IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing
  11. 0:31:15 Corsair is a vengeful beast: K90, the (Black)Widow’s maker?
  12. 0:37:58 Corsair Returns With A Vengeance (Line Of Gaming Headsets)
  13. 0:39:00 This newcomer to SSDs holds a new iteration of a familiar controller
  14. 0:45:00 New Intel Core i7 2700K Revealed In MDDS Will Take Top Spot In Company Lineup
  15. 0:47:11 Kepler has arrived ... sort of
  16. 0:51:13 Email from Pete about Windows 8 and SSDs
  17. 0:56:00 Email from Nabokovfan87
  18. 1:02:00 Email from Rahul about Ultrabooks
  19. 1:04:00 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
  20. 1:04:52 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Gorillapod
    2. Jeremy: Ray Tracing ain't dead  fine, ruin my pick then  Cartel
    3. Josh: Looks very interesting:  http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductUUID=UUIQ7EN5PMEAAAEyle0CBwpd&CatalogCategoryID=yP4Q7EN5.w0AAAEu6fw.zwd2
    4. Allyn: VMWare 8
  21. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  22. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  23. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  24. Closing

Source:

IDF 2011: MSI Shows Off Upcoming X79 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 14, 2011 - 07:59 AM |
Tagged: x79, sandy bridge-e, msi, idf 2011, idf

Many of Intel's partners are on hand at IDF to showcase upcoming products and I was able to stop by the MSI booth yesterday to get a peek into the future of the X79 chipset.  This chipset will launch with the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors (for enthusiast) sometime later this year and introduce a new processor socket (Socket 2011) as well as some new features like dozens of PCI Express connections and quad-channel memory.

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The flagship board on display was the X79A-GD65 (8D) that is one of the few X79 boards I have seen sporting 8 DIMM slots (hence the name) and capacities as high as 64GB!  Most of the MSI features we have come to love on current motherboards are going to be on this line as well including Military Class components, OC Genie II and the much updated and improved ClickBIOS II.

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The board is completely 3-Way SLI ready (and CrossFire as well) and sports three total PCI Express 3.0 slots at x16 bandwidth but also adds in three more PCIe 2.0 slots for good measure. 

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There are 4x USB 3.0 ports, 12x USB 2.0 ports, 4x SATA 6G ports and 4x SATA 3G ports.  Needless to say the X79 platforms are going to be an enthusiast's dream.

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MSI is also likely to include a new breakout box with X79 motherboards that will reside in a 5.25-in bay slot on your case (and honestly I need more things to use up there these days) and give you a couple of USB ports, an OC Genie button that will double as a BIOS reset button when held down, and even integrated WiFi and Bluetooth.  The above photo is just a mock up but the plans are in place to deliver them with these new boards.

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Finally, MSI did have the much improved and updated ClickBIOS II UEFI on display and without a doubt it kicks the first version's ass.  We are working on a review that includes this new implementation so expect more on that soon.

Source: PCPer