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.