Intel Ivy Bridge-E Debuts: Core i7-4960X Review

By on September 3, 2013, 2:00 AM

Haswell has been out in the wild for 3 months now, while Sandy Bridge-E has remained Intel’s "ultimate" desktop platform for almost 2 years. However as we had anticipated, Intel is now ready for a refresh of its Extreme platform, but they won’t be skipping the Ivy Bridge architecture and moving straight to Haswell. Rather, the LGA2011 platform is getting an upgrade with new Ivy Bridge-E processors.

Enter the Core i7-4960X which still features 6 cores, 12 threads, 15MB L3 cache, quad-channel DDR3 memory and is supported by the same aging X79 chipset. This doesn’t sound very exciting, so what’s new?

Well, other than a slight bump in frequency, which is kind of pointless on an unlocked Extreme Edition processor, and the ability to natively support DDR3-1866 memory, not a lot. You do get the slight efficiency improvements of the Ivy Bridge architecture, and honestly Haswell didn't do much for the desktop anyway, so that's not something we'd criticize first thing.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 38

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1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Pricing alone makes it redundant. Some people will convince themselves they need it and will buy it but for the other 99.9% enthusiasts & gamers, LGA 1150 with a i7/i5 4770K/4670K is more than sufficient, and a lot easier on the back pocket.

2 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Pricing alone makes it redundant. Some people will convince themselves they need it and will buy it but for the other 99.9% enthusiasts & gamers, LGA 1150 with a i7/i5 4770K/4670K is more than sufficient, and a lot easier on the back pocket.

It's all about the e-peen with the exception of those looking for a cheap workstation alternative/general purpose machine with the 4820K.

Looks as though the second revision of X79 boards are on their way. Also seems that the chipset validation issues of the original X79 have been solved judging by the six SATA 6Gb ports running off the chipset of the "new" Asus X79 Deluxe (also features 2 SATA 6Gb and 4 SATA 3Gb via ASMedia controllers) up from 2 in the original board.

4 people like this | Arris Arris said:

Looks like my 2600K was as good an investment as my C2Q6600. Will stick with this for a while yet.

3 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Looks like my 2600K was as good an investment as my C2Q6600. Will stick with this for a while yet.

Me too....unless I can track down one of those weirdo's who'll be flogging off a Sandy Bridge-E cheap so they can "upgrade"

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The overclocking is really quite a disappointment with 4.5Ghz around the norm. Comparing OC to OC it ends up being around the same as a 3970X in terms of performance.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Well this is a abysmal from what my hopes were, sad to say now im debating if I want to grab one or wait till Haswell-E. I was really hoping for not just straight up performance improvements, but a chipset revision for people who want a new system to get all those new features available on most other machines. At least with the new DDR3 1866 controller and PCI-E 3.0 support I can find this satisfactory, but I really expected more when paying this premium.

Although at least there are some revisions coming out that will show some better boards to go with these chips.

1 person liked this | slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yep, let's hope the board revisions are coming soon! I was waiting on IB-E after seeing the rather disappointing OCing results from Haswell but IB-E isn't great either.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Yep, let's hope the board revisions are coming soon! I was waiting on IB-E after seeing the rather disappointing OCing results from Haswell but IB-E isn't great either.

Well remember, they were doing "Air" overclocking and they even said it was rushed on first release drivers for those motherboards. When we see the boards that are designed more for ivy bridge-E (Ie the revisions) and more bios version etc, im sure the overclocking will hit higher levels (All im hoping for to hear is a pretty standard 4.5+ though 5.0 would be amazing). Like ive said before, I never judge a product too much on first release drivers/beta drivers especially when problems arise because obviously improvements will be made. I just want the new Asus board to sport some of the revisions and some bonus features (Heres hoping (y) ) before im willing to fork out close to 1k total in parts for this chip.

MrBungle said:

So this is the 3rd IVB-E review I've read today and it seems to say the same thing as the other two..

4820K = pointless -- you're probably better off with a 4770K

4930K/4960X = The best option if you absolutely NEED 6 cores...

JC713 JC713 said:

Wow the 4770K kicked its butt (especially with the price difference). Come on AMD, this is your chance to pounce!

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wow the 4770K kicked its butt (especially with the price difference). Come on AMD, this is your chance to pounce!

Yeah right. It looks like they threw the AMD A10-5800K into the test for comic relief. How do you "pounce" when you are unable to get off your a**?

Odd thing is, the gaming scores are similar on all the CPUs in the test. But, if you have actual work to do, Intel is still the go-to platform.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I would love to see a 990X against this, both CPU's at the same clock speed.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Odd thing is, the gaming scores are similar on all the CPUs in the test. But, if you have actual work to do, Intel is still the go-to platform.

Not too odd. I'll just expand for general consumption. The CPU isn't generally taxed in most gaming. Most games are limited in core/thread usage, and CPU involvement rarely extends beyond executing draw calls for the GPU (API <--> kernel driver<--> user mode driver) - keeping track of game events including AI, and CPU physics.

Consequently the only games that benefit tend to be multi-threaded RTS games where the CPU needs to account and computate all the aspects of a changing game environment . Civilization V is a prime example:

The other scenario which will tax a CPU is a multi-GPU setup, where the CPU has to double, triple, or quadruple the draw calls to "feed" the graphics cards in the CrossfireX/SLI system:

[Sources: Hardware Canucks 4960X review and Anandtechs Multi-GPU scaling with CPU article. Real World Labs also have an 4960X + GTX 780 SLI review]

I would love to see a 990X against this, both CPU's at the same clock speed.

I doubt that you'd find one considering the boost characteristics that kick in with the IB-E part.

You can stock-vs-stock >>here<<

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

Yeah right. It looks like they threw the AMD A10-5800K into the test for comic relief. How do you "pounce" when you are unable to get off your a**?

Odd thing is, the gaming scores are similar on all the CPUs in the test. But, if you have actual work to do, Intel is still the go-to platform.

I am saying it is time for AMDs next generation FX platform (if there even is any) to better compete with Intel Extreme CPUs.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I am saying it is time for AMDs next generation FX platform (if there even is any) to better compete with Intel Extreme CPUs.

I agree, though only time will tell when/if steamroller will be the golden boy of chips. Im not too happy with these new chips from Intel, however I may still go ahead and grab one anyway.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I am saying it is time for AMDs next generation FX platform (if there even is any) to better compete with Intel Extreme CPUs.

Not unless a 4-core AMD CPU is able to take on a 6 or 8 core Intel Extreme.

[link] .

The horsepower race effectively finished in July 2006- AMD are just confirming that they're competing in Pro Stock rather than Top Fuel to use the dreaded auto analogy.

DKRON said:

Would loved to see gaming benchmarks with games that were actually CPU dependent. When a AMD A10 is keeping up with i7's you know its not that heavy on CPU use

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

~3.5GHz stock, ~4.5GHz overclock, marginal performance gains, decent efficiency gains. I sense a pattern.. Me thinks 22nm is not enough, Intel needs the next step.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Looks like I'll sit on my 2600k for another gen.

lipe123 said:

*joins the 2600k club* honestly watching all these new sockets and processor families come past with no significant improvement is just sad.

Intel is following the apple business model now by releasing the same thing with new connectors every year just to sell something new.

JC713 JC713 said:

Not unless a 4-core AMD CPU is able to take on a 6 or 8 core Intel Extreme.

[link] .

The horsepower race effectively finished in July 2006- AMD are just confirming that they're competing in Pro Stock rather than Top Fuel to use the dreaded auto analogy.

Aw no 6 core or 8 core CPUs .

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Aw no 6 core or 8 core CPUs .

Not in this current period at least sadly, however we already know because of the Xbox 1 and PS4 that there are 8 core APU's (Jaguar) which is the one we should look for.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Aw no 6 core or 8 core CPUs .
Yeah, tough break. Although, what the hell would AMD call an octa-core line? They've already run through all the heavy construction equipment names and haven't gotten an outhouse built........:oops:

Wait, I've got it, "The Chuck Norris Eight Banger".......(I eagerly await your rebuttal)..........:p

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Yeah, tough break. Although, what the hell would AMD call an octa-core line? They've already run through all the heavy construction equipment names and haven't gotten an outhouse built........:oops:

Wait, I've got it, "The Chuck Norris Eight Banger".......(I eagerly await your rebuttal)..........:p

Yes

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Yeah, tough break. Although, what the hell would AMD call an octa-core line? They've already run through all the heavy construction equipment names and haven't gotten an outhouse built........:oops:

Might I suggest "Crawler-Transporter"? Here's an article aptly named " History in Slow Motion "

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Such a pity the "Constellation" program and along with it "The Aries" rockets are cancelled.

Anything that huge, loud, and phallic, deserves to be visited upon space.

The crawler is impressive sure , but when you get right down to it, its TDP is probably less than would be necessary to power an 8 core AMD processor....

Bink said:

It isn't really worth the money to be honest. I've just built a new rig (Intel build) and I was going to wait but decided on 1150 Haswell instead. I've got the 4770K and it, excuse my French. Bloody fast and gaming wise SCBL runs so smoothly and flawlessly I can't fault it. IVB is old stock and the only reason why they've gone backwards instead of forwards is because Haswell isn't compatible with Intel's new chipset.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

It isn't really worth the money to be honest. I've just built a new rig (Intel build) and I was going to wait but decided on 1150 Haswell instead. I've got the 4770K and it, excuse my French. Bloody fast and gaming wise SCBL runs so smoothly and flawlessly I can't fault it. IVB is old stock and the only reason why they've gone backwards instead of forwards is because Haswell isn't compatible with Intel's new chipset.

The "E" series from Intel is a last gen architecture because that's all it really needs to perform. Haswell-E has already been talked about and shows some leaked images. The Ivy Bridge-E line is performance heavy processors, but the chipset is where the disappointments start to rear their ugly head. We can only hope in this regard some of the vendors come out with re-launched version of the boards containg some of these missing features to make up for it. Its still a nice chip and ill probably still grab a 4930k once the Asus Maximus 5 Formula board hits the market.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Being sum1 who still runs Bloomfield/X58 I wouldn't upgrade to a 4770k, IMO it would be a complete waste of money from the benchmarks I have seen (and I have seen just about all of them). Only a 6 core CPU would be a worthwhile upgrade but why do that when there might be some truth to this:

For starters, Intel will use Haswell-E to launch an eight core desktop CPU for the first time. Specifically, users will have their choice of six or eight core chips with up to 20MB of L3 cache. With Hyper Threading, we're looking at 16 logical cores with a maximum TDP somewhere in the range of 130W to 140W. The chips will be built using Intel's second generation 22nm Hi-k process.

[link]

20MB Cache, 8 Cores & 16 Threads?

Now thats an upgrade.

JC713 JC713 said:

A still run Bloomfield/X58 and I wouldn't upgrade to a 4770k, IMO it would be a complete waste of money from the benchmarks I have seen (and I have seen just about all of them). Only a 6 core CPU would be a worthwhile upgrade but why do that when there might be some truth to this:

[link]

20MB Cache, 8 Cores & 16 Threads?

Now thats an upgrade.

I guess the lower power draw is attractive in IB-E, but not enough to move from X58.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Its still a nice chip and ill probably still grab a 4930k once the Asus Maximus 5 Formula board hits the market.

Well, you'll be massively disappointed then. The Maximus series are Asus's mainstream socket boards. FWIW, the Maximus V is Z77 (LGA1155). Asus's ROG high end desktop boards (LGA 2011) bear the Rampage nameplate.

20MB Cache, 8 Cores & 16 Threads?

Now thats an upgrade.

Same deal as the current Xeon E5's ( a.k.a. the un-neutered version of Sandy Bridge-E), which pale besides the Ivy Bridge-EP parts ( 30MB LLC, 12 core/24 thread). Of course, by the time Haswell-E launches, it'll be the "Meh to" scenario all over again since mainstream Skylake wont be far off ( DDR4 and SATA Express for the mainstream, PCI-E 4.0, and likely AVX-512).

BTW: There are already Haswell-EP's in the wild. No 18 core/36 thread sightings yet, but it seems that the 35MB LLC, 14 core/28 thread version is undergoing qualification.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I guess the lower power draw is attractive, but not enough to move from X58.

Going from 4 Cores / 8 Threads & 12MB Cache to 8 Cores / 16 threads and 20MB Cache/3D transistors isn't enough to update from X58? I disagree, in simple math its basically double of what I have now.

Well, you'll be massively disappointed then. The Maximus series are Asus's mainstream socket boards. FWIW, the Maximus V is Z77 (LGA1155). Asus's ROG high end desktop boards (LGA 2011) bear the Rampage nameplate.
Agreed, the Rampage/Formula boards are usually overrated. When I bought my X58 board it was faster then the X58 Rampage & Formula on gaming benchmarks (still have the screens) and came with dual lan/7.1HD Soundmax.

I still miss my old P6T but my P6TD has been a phenomenal board.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Agreed, the Rampage/Formula boards are usually overrated.

I was kind of referring to trying to shoehorn a 4930K (LGA2011) into a LGA1155 socket

As for the Rampage (or Maximus, Crosshair, Blitz, and Commando ROG boards for that matter) they are designed for a fairly niche market that probably starts at watercooling and TEC. A lot of boards will OC the CPU well, some boards also OC memory well, but very few do both simultaneously as well as the ROG boards*. There is a reason that HWBot is littered with submissions using these boards.

Their only real downsides are that historically they've lacked the connectivity of the high end workstation orientated boards, are overpriced, and the accessories package is usually overkill. The black and red motif is also a little stale, but that's more a subjective call.

* With the possible exception of the Striker Extreme/Formula and Striker II

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Well, you'll be massively disappointed then. The Maximus series are Asus's mainstream socket boards. FWIW, the Maximus V is Z77 (LGA1155). Asus's ROG high end desktop boards (LGA 2011) bear the Rampage nameplate.

It was a typo, good god, I was talking with someone about high end boards and typed Maximus instead of Rampage, point was the Asus Board and the next in line (which is a 5 btw in the Rampage line pointing to a small typo).

I don't think they are overrated either, when comparing features and price, they do at times seem to be overpriced in some instances, however the only competition in that category of motherboards are the gigabyte boards and the EVGA boards (Which the EVGA boards are ungodly overpriced). Im more interested in the one below the top from asus because I don't need some of the extra junk thrown on.

EEatGDL said:

Wow the 4770K kicked its butt (especially with the price difference). Come on AMD, this is your chance to pounce!

AMD has repeatedly said they're not targeting high end competition and so are out of the "Extreme CPUs fight"; even if they bring something new and beat it [which doesn't seem too hard] then that would be collateral damage to the Extreme Intel CPUs.

And that cheer "come on AMD, this is your chance!" I've read it already many times here in the last Intel reviews. Don't get me wrong, I considered AMD for my upgrade (from Core 2 Duo), but they haven't launched a Bulldozer succesor line [since the Sandy Bridge era], so I ended buying an i5 Haswell cheaper than the FX-8350 that could outperform it in many scenarios drawing a lot less power and getting a lot less hot.

JC713 JC713 said:

Going from 4 Cores / 8 Threads & 12MB Cache to 8 Cores / 16 threads and 20MB Cache/3D transistors isn't enough to update from X58? I disagree, in simple math its basically double of what I have now.

Agreed, the Rampage/Formula boards are usually overrated. When I bought my X58 board it was faster then the X58 Rampage & Formula on gaming benchmarks (still have the screens) and came with dual lan/7.1HD Soundmax.

I still miss my old P6T but my P6TD has been a phenomenal board.

No I was saying going from X58 to Ivy Bridge E.

Boilerhog146 Boilerhog146 said:

Glad I didn't wait for ivy-E, it's been about a month now ,and I'm completely Happy with Sandy-E,I build power houses for a living,Whats a few watts? lol...

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