Intel Core i7-4960X Review: Ivy Bridge-E, Benchmarked

Results: Synthetics

Using the same GeForce GTX Titan as our Haswell launch coverage, we see that Ivy Bridge-E doesn’t do anything for single-card graphics performance in 3DMark 11 (which is what we’d expect, given that both platforms yield a full 16 lanes at 8 GT/s).

In contrast, the processor-bound Physics module demonstrates a small bump in favor of the Core i7-4960X over -3970X. More pronounced is the -4960X’s 30%+ improvement over Core i7-4770K.

There’s very little gain over the Sandy Bridge-E flagship in SiSoftware’s Sandra Arithmetic sub-test.

The same goes for the Multimedia benchmark. In fact, Core i7-4770K yields better numbers in the integer component thanks to its AVX 2 support.

It’s possible that we could get more memory bandwidth from Core i7-4960X using a quad-channel DDR3-1866 memory kit. However, we only had access to 1600 MT/s for this story, so we used the same G.Skill kit from our Core i7-4770K launch piece. We already know this platform isn’t particularly bandwidth-constrained on the desktop, though, so we don’t expect any real-world benefit beyond this 41 GB/s mark.

When we sort by L1 cache throughput, the Haswell architecture’s doubled theoretical max yields almost 1 TB/s, while Ivy Bridge-E ducks in under 800 GB/s. On paper, Haswell should also push twice as much L2 bandwidth as well. We haven’t observed this yet, though. In contrast, Core i7-4960X, sporting six cores with 256 KB of L2 each, pushes more aggregate bandwidth, nearly hitting 500 GB/s. The extra cores also help with shared L3 bandwidth, given more stops along the ring bus.

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    Top Comments
  • ingtar33
    about all i'd expect. shame really, but it looks like the enthusiast market is at a standstill till AMD starts to compete again.
    37
  • designasaurus
    There's a rumor going around that Ivy-E is going to have a soldered heatspreader instead of using thermal paste. Obviously this would be a big differentiator for enthusiasts picking between Haswell and Ivy-E. Given your access to Ivy-E, do you guys at Tom's have any opinions on this rumor?
    14
  • Other Comments
  • naihan
    Boring. Call me when X99 platform is available.
    6
  • Someone Somewhere
    Probably would have been nice to be 8-core. Isn't the actual die on these things just a cut-down 12-core chip? Think I read that somewhere.

    EDIT: Minor error:
    Quote:
    surface alongside Haswell-based 9-series chipsets


    Shouldn't that be Broadwell?
    -2
  • designasaurus
    There's a rumor going around that Ivy-E is going to have a soldered heatspreader instead of using thermal paste. Obviously this would be a big differentiator for enthusiasts picking between Haswell and Ivy-E. Given your access to Ivy-E, do you guys at Tom's have any opinions on this rumor?
    14
  • killerchickens
    I bet it overclocks like a beast. :)
    Lol now time to spend $1000 to save on my power bill.
    8
  • ingtar33
    about all i'd expect. shame really, but it looks like the enthusiast market is at a standstill till AMD starts to compete again.
    37
  • sna
    too early to judge...

    The 6 cores ivyBridge-e "K" version is the real thing.

    and I dont get it , how Tomshardwae fails to say about the SandyBridge-e not having PCIE 3.0 support , while the ivy-E has PCIe 3.0 support . this is a Big factor here.
    -8
  • ingtar33
    Anonymous said:
    too early to judge...

    The 6 cores ivyBridge-e "K" version is the real thing.

    and I dont get it , how Tomshardwae fails to say about the SandyBridge-e not having PCIE 3.0 support , while the ivy-E has PCIe 3.0 support . this is a Big factor here.


    they did say it. You didn't read the beginning of the review. Of course pci-e 3.0 is a gimmick and not a reason to buy a new 2011 mb and ib-e chip... and it will remain a marketing gimmick untill gpus can actually be bottlenecked by pci-e 2.0 x16... high end gpus barely bottleneck on pci-e 2.0 x8 atm... it will be a little while (another generation or 3) before gpus will NEED pci-e 3.0.
    7
  • Someone Somewhere
    Quote:
    official PCI Express 3.0 compliance (remember, Sandy Bridge-E only claimed 8 GT/s signaling support), and 22 nm manufacturing.


    That's pretty much saying it did it unofficially.

    Besides, you have to look hard to find something bottlenecked by PCIe2.0x8; even high-end GPUs won't run into bandwidth limitations.
    2
  • CommentariesAnd More
    WOW !!!!!!! So Intel is expecting someone to spend another 1000 bucks just for a 10-20% boost. Yay!!!!!!!! This is Ivy Bridge-E. I am getting it , YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -21
  • shin0bi272
    still no gaming benchmarks eh? I guess I'll save my money and stick with my i7-920 for a little bit longer.
    9
  • sna
    :) PCIe 3.0 is a Gimmick ?

    you people think this is a Gaming only Machine?

    try to buy PCIe 3.0 8x/4x Raid Card for example ... they are around starting at $300

    LAN cards as well , and coming cards etc ..

    and who knows ? maybe Titan 2X cards apper :)

    And Many people Compalind about their SandyBridge-e not supporting PCIe 3.0 speed..

    as for the lack of USB3.0 and few Sata3 ports , this is a 40 Lanes CPU , just buy that 4X PCIe usb 3.0 card and add it problem solved.
    -13
  • Someone Somewhere
    First off, yes it is largely a gaming machine. If not, it would likely be using Xeons.

    I'd like to see a situation in which you need 4GB/s each way SAS/SATA, but can't afford a Xeon based platform

    LAN cards. At 500MB/s each way (for an PCIe2.0x1 card, plus you're more likely to use an x4 card). You got something with 10GbE?

    Even a Titan 2x could run on PCIe2.0x16.

    Most people don't like running many addin cards. Besides, where's the room given the expected use of this platform is multi-GPU systems?
    6
  • ingtar33
    Anonymous said:
    :) PCIe 3.0 is a Gimmick ?

    you people think this is a Gaming only Machine?

    try to buy PCIe 3.0 8x/4x Raid Card for example ... they are around starting at $300

    LAN cards as well , and coming cards etc ..

    and who knows ? maybe Titan 2X cards apper :)

    And Many people Compalind about their SandyBridge-e not supporting PCIe 3.0 speed..

    as for the lack of USB3.0 and few Sata3 ports , this is a 40 Lanes CPU , just buy that 4X PCIe usb 3.0 card and add it problem solved.


    psh... there ARE pci-e 2.0 x16 boards with multiple card support you know. And pci-e 2.0x16 is identical speed to pci-e 3.0 x8... just as pci-e 3.0 x4 is equal to pci-e 2.0 x8... and as we pointed out, pci-e 2.0 x8 is about the upper limit for gpu to mb interface speed at the moment, and pci-e 2.0 x16 is well beyond any gpu to max out as of now.
    2
  • tomfreak
    expensive X version clocked high 3.6GHz 6 core.... why not 150w tdp and 8 core @ 3.1-3.3GHz? Do I need a reason to pay extra when the 4930K is doing almost the same performance?
    3
  • slomo4sho
    Wasn't this easy enough to predict by observing the modest improvements trend set forth by Sandy to Ivy and then to Haswell?
    1
  • flong777
    Wow SB is looking better and better. IB was at least a modest upgrade to SB but Haswell is just a loser and that's sad.

    There is one exception; the Haswell processors for laptops are much more efficient and provide huge increases in run time without losing any speed. But for desktops, Haswell appears to be a complete bust.
    3
  • daglesj
    A nice chip for someone I'm sure but surely the market for these high end chips is dwindling really?

    I'd be intrigued to see the sales figures for Intels high-end chips today compared to say eight years ago.
    2
  • ingtar33
    Anonymous said:
    Wake me up when they gonna sell 12 core i-somethings for 400 bucks


    considering they're selling 6 cores for 1000, they wouldn't sell a 8 core for less then 1500 (probably 2k)... anyone expecting less is kidding themselves. this will remain true as long as AMD is uncompetitive.
    2
  • orca_sweets
    Wow. 30% more efficient means with power consumption means use a less powerful light bulb in one of the lamps you use every day. No real performance increase compared to its predecessor. This is depressing. GPU competition right now is awesome. Makes powerful GPUs inexpensive. Now that Intel has passed AMD too much they dont even have to compete with price or performance upgrades. Intel is garbage for what price they charge for some of their processors. Granted, there are several awesome $180 and less options, but anything higher then that and you are paying for BEATS by Dre price premium. We all know how mediocre those are. Sorry. I am done ranting now.
    0
  • daglesj
    Really though, what's the issue?

    You can pay $200 and get 90FPS or pay $800 to get 95-100FPS.

    Intel's high-end chips are dead men walking really. More and more niche as time goes on.
    -2