Tom's Hardware's 2011 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K

$599.99
www.intel.com

Sometimes, being #1 can be overrated—and overpriced. Witness Intel’s present flagship, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, a gleaming slab of LGA 2011 awesomeness that, with a 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost ceiling, sets you back $1050 on Newegg. We have to wonder, is there some arbitrary margin Intel feels compelled to make on its top-end chips that now requires a $1050 price instead of the traditional $999.99? The extra $50 almost feels like you’re tipping the company for drink refills. Anyway. Why worry about that at all when you can opt for the $600 more sensible #2 offering, the Core i7-3930K?

Ignore the fact that our model is holding the Extreme Edition's box. It's the only one we could get our hands on prior to buying our own Core i7-3930K for Intel Core i7-3930K And Core i7-3820: Sandy Bridge-E, Cheaper.

With the second-place chip, you give up only 100 MHz in both the standard and peak Turbo Boost modes. It still features six physical cores, a 130 W TDP, LGA 2011, a 32 nm fab process, and a quad-channel DDR3-1600 memory architecture. Naturally, neither of these Sandy Bridge-E-based chips include integrated graphics, but you do get 40 lanes of third-generation PCI Express connectivity to which you can attach a ton of discrete graphics muscle. One spot in which the -3930K takes a slight hit is in its use of 12 MB of shared L3 cache, as opposed to the -3960X’s 15 MB. But check out the benchmarks in the story linked above; the cache deficit really doesn't hurt that badly.

The -3930K is an unlocked monster. Do you really care that the chip is a 3.2 GHz part instead of 3.3 GHz, when you can set it at 4.-something GHz and not even break a sweat? No. Quite honestly, the -3960X is either a vanity purchase or the domain of a professional workstation user unwilling to overclock for fear of instability. We’re quite content to get most of the flagship’s speed plus all of the expected extras (Hyper-Threading, VT-x and VT-d, AES-NI, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep, and more) for nearly half the price.

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    Top Comments
  • serhat359
    I feel sorry for those girls that they have to smile for the camera even though they have no idea what they are holding
    36
  • wizloa
    i clicked for the lady
    33
  • HansVonOhain
    Must... focus ... on ... computer parts...
    22
  • Other Comments
  • gerohmygosh
    Where is the girl for the PNY RAM?!?!?!
    0
  • wizloa
    i clicked for the lady
    33
  • phamhlam
    What is your favorite picture?

    Mine was the one with the 4 SSD.
    My floppy disk totally turned to a hard disk drive.

    I can't wait for part 2 already.
    6
  • serhat359
    I feel sorry for those girls that they have to smile for the camera even though they have no idea what they are holding
    36
  • HansVonOhain
    Must... focus ... on ... computer parts...
    22
  • phamhlam
    What is hotter? The computer parts or the girl?
    -6
  • richboyliang
    haha do these girls know what they're doing?
    -7
  • koolkat574
    richboylianghaha do these girls know what they're doing?


    Depends on if you use an aftermarket cooler or the stock one
    -6
  • manu 11
    For one second, my focus was deviated, back to pc!
    -5
  • lunyone
    It looks like the Blonde model was having more fun, or is it just me. If I wasn't married, I'd take either! Forget the PC hardware, there are more important things to look at!!! Lol!
    10
  • bcontoursvt
    All these pages later and I still have no idea what the topic of the story was...
    11
  • LuckyDucky7
    I don't get it.

    Why are some things suggested in this guide mostly the worst value you could get for that sum of cash?

    For starters:

    -MSI 990FX-GD80 wouldn't be my top pick. That would go to a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD(x) board. Why bother getting a board that's more expensive than the best processor for the platform (or one whose lower-end boards don't catch fire).

    -i7-3930K? Ivy's just around the corner and will run on 150 dollar boards that do more than X79 could think of.

    -Silverstone 1000W PSU? Seasonic's already got their X-1050, which has 80+ Platinum certification instead of gold for the same cost.

    Some things I guess I just don't understand, then. You list some parts that have really good value, such as that RAM and Powercolor graphics card along with the 955BE, and then go to the polar opposite. I don't see the reason for that.
    21
  • manu 11
    I can ditch pc hardware if i can get a girl in those photos
    1
  • kustiki321
    I'm sorry, was there supposed to be some sort of gift guide here? I know it's a tech site and I was expecting one but I can't seem to see what they're recommending.
    0
  • mkrijt
    The redhead doesn't seem to have fun....
    17
  • cold fire
    I'm having a hard time deciding whether I'd take all the hardware or all the girls. :$
    -8
  • tzhu07
    Those girls prove why Tom's Hardware will never be at the level of AnandTech...
    -7
  • gazum123
    Anonymous said:
    I'm sorry, was there supposed to be some sort of gift guide here? I know it's a tech site and I was expecting one but I can't seem to see what they're recommending.



    Get a life you freak
    -22
  • Goldengoose
    gazum123Get a life you freak

    Get a sense of humor you rude little man.
    15
  • Anonymous
    and not a single anti-static precaution taken... All those naked components... what a waste
    -4