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Intel Core i7-6950X Broadwell-E Review: The King of Diminishing Returns

By Steve ยท 24 replies
Jun 5, 2016
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  1. You'd be forgiven for not noticing, but this time last year Intel debuted its 5th-generation Core architecture codenamed Broadwell. On the desktop, Broadwell kept the LGA1150 socket used by Haswell before it, with only two processors ever released: the Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C, with no Core i3 or any other models.

    Perhaps the most enticing processors to arrive in the past few years for the performance crowd were those of the Haswell-E range. The Core i7-5820K has been a popular choice among enthusiasts: at $390 it isn't much more expensive than flagship Skylake and Broadwell CPUs while boasting additional cores, cache, and potential performance. Furthermore, at the head of the Haswell-E family we find the 8-core 5960X, a $1,050 part aimed at power users.

    Two years later, it may be time to say farewell. Intel has officially unveiled Broadwell-E, which consists of four processors covering 6, 8 and 10-core configurations. These chips differ quite a bit in terms of specifications and pricing, all the more reason to explore them in better detail.

    Read the complete review.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2016
  2. Captain828

    Captain828 TS Guru Posts: 287   +10

    The prices in the comparison table on the first page are wrong.

    Would have been nice to see actual power consumption and temperatures during idle/load (not just TDPs).

    IMO, nothing from the new lineup is all that interesting to justify the pricing.

    Let's hope Zen will spruce things up.
    BlueDrake and Gopal Bhat like this.
  3. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 536   +210

    Are the yields so bad that the price tag itself shows just how difficult is to get one of these chips out of the wafer? GTFO
  4. Always knew dividebyzero was/is an expert, even though he doesn't really advertise this fact ;)

    Well...Not sure what to do now since I was hoping to upgrade not just my GPU, but also CPU this year....I guess it'll just be the gpu and I'll wait a few more years to upgrade my cpu.
    Steve likes this.
  5. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Yea, this price point for the chip is a bit ridiculous. It seems like a great chip though due to having the extra cores and Broadwell in general its not a great overclocker at the end of the day and for that price I expect it to be exceptional (Bear in mind my idea is always 4.5ghz or bust). Seems to make the other ones a better deal overall with even the high 8 core one seeming like a bargain compared to it. Oh well, its still a nice chip just in a really poor price point for what you get.
    MoeJoe and Steve like this.
  6. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    I'm somewhat surprised that this die shrink did not get 100/100 score. Thumbs up for Steve (y)
  7. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,139   +631

    If it was Nvidia that made them it would get 100/100.
    HardReset likes this.
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,247   +448

    This is getting old. Get over it folks.
    Adhmuz and Steve like this.
  9. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Maniac Posts: 277   +187

    ZEN will show them ...... LMAO !!! ROTFL !!!

    No, but seriously. Its a shame Intel has gone this route.

    When they decided to make Zeon processors and their consumer chipsets incompatible with eachother they basically showed me that they are not really concerned with keeping the average Joe home PC owner as a customer, and want to focus on huge data centers, supercomputers, mainframes. You know, people buying 10000 or more cpus at a time.

    Maybe they just feel so bad for AMD that they are trying to force people to go to them? Not your average business plan, but maybe they are concerned that if AMD bottoms up, then they will be sued for being a monopoly, so they plan to give all the home PC industry to AMD, and keep all the huge customers, and a few of the public that are just crazy rich, or crazy in dept.
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    You'd better hope it does unless you enjoy paying a tariff for Intel's better "chipsets"
    I don't know how you came up with that information, but it is wrong. The current consumer X99 platform works fine with Intel Xeon's, just as previous generations of Xeon's have worked with X79 and X58 boards.
    Steve likes this.
  11. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Maniac Posts: 277   +187

    X99 isn't the current chipset. Z170 is. Z170 is not compatible with Xeon.

    BTW, thank you for correcting me on the Xeon. DoH

    ..... Oh wait. Intel chipsets are not compatible with zeon chips! I was right! *nerd*
  12. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    X99 is Xeon compatible mainly because C600 chipset boards are fully WS orientated and thus expensive and often lacking in consumer (gaming) features..
    Again, I'm not even sure why you are ranting when Xeon C232 boards are as well appointed as Z170's (and better than many), are generally pretty cheap, and also have consumer (Celeron/i3/i5/i7) CPU support.
    Seems much ado about nothing IMO.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
    Steve likes this.
  13. Is it me, or is Intel all over the place with product numbers and pricing?
    In Albertistan a LGA1151 i7-6700K sells for $560, you can get a Xeon E3-1230 v5 for $400 and an E3-1220 v5 for $320. Seems simple so far
    You would think an i7-6800K $590 must also be LGA1151, but no we go to LGA2011v3 where moving up the proc. chain goes to i7-5930K at $810, i7-6850K at $840, Xeon E5-2630 v3 ($960), Xeon E5-2640 v3 ($1330), i7-5960X Extreme Edition ($1500), Xeon E5-2650 v3 ($1670), Xeon E5-2687W v3 ($2970)
    between the socket you got, the socket you might buy, what you need the damn thing for, you had sure better be ready to read a lot, take notes or you could spend serious cash yet come up lacking. I know they are all powerful but whether you are spending $400 or $1400 you kinda want to know you made some sort of intelligent choice
  14. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 641   +349

    Not interested. 4790K working just fine ... and fast.
  15. Ryrynz

    Ryrynz TS Rookie

    We don't care.
  16. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Addict Posts: 210   +53

    You can still get those Xeon 2670 on the cheap, and this makes them even more attractive..cheap dual board will be a tougher find.

    in retrospect. the C2QX 9770 was an insane price as well,in it's day..
  17. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Maniac Posts: 277   +187

    Great, your allowed your opinion, and I respect that...

    Please respect mine.

    I believe (my opinion is) Intel choice to make the Z170 series ( I'm not talking about X99, I never was. I should of been clear on that in my first post. I apologize for not stating that originally ) not compatible with the Xeon line of processors was to "herd" customers where they want them. To keep them from purchasing locked Xeons with their large number of cores / cache, and force them to buy marked up Xeons packaged as extreme core processors.

    Intel (in my opinion) may have run into fab issues, and needed to be sure that they could supply all the corporate customers with all the xeons they need, that may of been part of the reasoning too. Who knows, speculation is all, I apologize, I didn't know I wasn't allowed to speculate.

    (My opinion) Is that it wouldn't hurt Intel to completely loose their market to the average consumer. They get the bulk of their income from things like massive data centers, supercomputers, so on and so forth. Yes, they would loose some income, but they also could then focus 100% of their resources on making better CPUs for servers and workstations, and focus a lot more on NAND technology ( An area they are making great progress in along with Micron ). The pricing of these CPUs just helps justify my opinion that they aren't as concerned with keeping as many home PC customers as they used to be. Its a dying industry, and they are bailing ship, and are letting AMD try to salvage it.

    There is not a version of a Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming G1 out there with a C232.

    However, when you say " Seems much ado about nothing " You are right, because I'm not going to be purchasing a new PC anytime soon, I was merely stating my view.
  18. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 261   +39

    Welp, I'm upgrading to the mainstream platform next generation..

    Going with the "E" platform has given me nothing but issues (my CPU (5930K) has died, twice; I've never had a CPU die in my life).

    Couple that with the fact that we're a generation behind in performance, and it's a stupid decision to even consider the platform unless you're specifically using it for things like encoding; not gaming.

    Too bad Intel will never bring higher than a 4 core CPU to the mainstream platform, despite being fully capable.

    This industry has turned to shyte. Where's AMD?
  19. TeeJay

    TeeJay TS Rookie

    Ah well, I guess "Moore's Law" is out the window. 20 years ago I thought we'd be up to 20GHz processors by now. Instead we're stuck with 4 Ghz (sometimes up to 5 Ghz) processors with multiple cores. True, those cores do speed things up some, but I'd still rather have a 20 GHz processor under the hood. But that will never happen (at least not in my lifetime).
  20. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    How have you had 2 CPU's die??? I have a 5930K as well overclocked and not had a single issue other than getting it stable at 4.5ghz being a bit touchy. Are you overclocking it very hard or has it really just been some bad luck? Just curious is all, nothing more.

    But your right, for gaming in most cases and i5 (Especially unlocked) is the best option out there because it will so far do any game no sweat. The Hyper-Threading on the i7 rarely ever makes a difference even sometimes in my book making it as well irrelevant to the average gamer though there are a few exceptions.

    Either way, we just have to wait it out if we have something recent as there has not bee much reason to upgrade since Sandy-Bridge.
  21. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 261   +39

    I believe my motherboard killed them (Gigabyte GA-X99-Gaming 5P). Both of them had IMC damage and could no longer run with memory that wasn't severely underclocked; though I could never get into the BIOS with my first CPU death, had to go back to my old PC. Originally replaced the motherboard as that's something that's died on me before.. but it wasn't the board.

    I use CL15 2800MHz memory. Getting it to run at that frequency is impossible unless the strap is changed, which results in adjusting multipliers. It could only run 2666 at base strap.

    The highest overclock I could manage stable at 2800 was 4GHz. It needed 1.32v and ran near 90C under prime95 (v27.9).

    I could never adjust any of the 'alternate' voltages without it immediately failing to POST. Just input, CPU core and DRAM.

    During the replacements I discovered that heat is dramatically reduced with stock speed memory, and even more if underclocked. I got my second chip to 4.5GHz at 1.26v with 1600MHz memory. Temps never went over 60C. This was after it had 'died'. I ran like this for a month before replacing it.

    3rd CPU, unstable at 4.5 no matter anything (went to 1.5v as a test). Even unstable at 4.4 IIRC.

    My second chip was a gem, and my motherboard took it from me.

    I'm currently running 4.2GHz at 1.2v and 2666MHz memory. Temps anywhere from 68 to 80 with small FFTs. A stable compromise.

    I'm hoping it doesn't decide to die again before I get the board replaced, though unless the new CPUs bring out new motherboards, I'm not sure there's another option. I required specifically this board due to its layout (Killer NIC was a nice bonus), so unless there's another that has the slot setup I need, I'm stuck with this CPU killing board. Still working with Gigabyte and potentially Intel to get to the root cause of this. Needless to say, they want to blame me instead of accept a fault with their board. (I've been overclocking for 20 years)
  22. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Wow, thats some serious unfortunate bad luck. I only own a 5930K which does 4.5ghz at 1.28 just fine under water with my memory at 2666. My friend has a 5820K and I overclocked it for him though it was unstable at 4.5ghz with any reasonable voltage (Up to 1.35) but 4.4 it was fine at 1.25. As for the layout, well you just need the slots to be the same layout try one of these:

    Asrock fatal1ty X99

    Msi Gaming 9 ACK (I own the older revision of this board)

    Asus Rampage V

    I think these slot setups are at least very similar to yours (Not sure what specifically about the setup is needed, but these all do 4 slots of PCIE 16x with a skip in between). Asrock has alot of different boards out there more than I posted that have a similar layout you may want to look at. Their boards have also been very nice from my usage.
  23. I upgraded from Sandy-Bridge, partly because the recipient of my old computers really needed an update and I wasn't going to spend all that money to give it (the new build) away. It was disappointing that after my research I was more excited about the chipset (Z-170 in my case) than the processor (i7-6700K).
    GhostRyder likes this.
  24. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Yea, the main reason to upgrade since then is the updates to things like the chipset or maybe PCIE 3.0. There are alot of cool new features to take advantage of on the newer system but as far as performance goes it has not moved much since then. One reason I regretted not buying a Sandy Bridge system back in the day as it was a steal considering how well the chip has aged!
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  25. Amet Jassil

    Amet Jassil TS Member

    Is really the faster CPU in highly multitasking, but stills being "Broadwell", less peformance per clock than Skylake or Haswell (sometimes), Intel recicles unsold processor to make highly expensive "Entusiast" CPUs

    Im waiting a good Athlon x4 845 review with clock per clock comparison vs Bulldozer, Vishera and Kaveri, maybe...
    FX4120, FX4300, FX6300, Athlon x4 860K and some Core i3, I saw ridisculy comparisons with Core i7 6700K and 6950x

    Great day for all

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