Intel Core i7-5960X, -5930K And -5820K CPU Review: Haswell-E Rises

Power, In Depth: CPU Health at 4.8 GHz

The previous page was a red flag warning us that our processor didn't have much headroom left. And yet, we pushing on, shooting for 4.8 GHz across all eight cores. Because this meant hitting 1.4 V and risking the health of our CPU, we didn't bother repeating the experiment using six cores. In a real gaming machine, you probably won't want to spend much time up where we're operating.

Core Voltage

An average of 1.38 V is the end of the line. And even then, there's a chance we might kill our Core i7-5960X inadvertently.

Power Draw

The voltage regulators struggle to keep pace. We see extreme fluctuations for the first time as our CPU hits its wall often. Throttling under load just can't be helped.

Even at idle, the high voltage leaves its mark.

Power consumption doesn't increase much at this point, mostly because the Core i7 throttles almost continuously at 10 to 12 percent. This is as far as you go with water cooling. Did you ever think you'd see an Intel processor chewing up 206 W on its own (or 250 W from the voltage regulator)? Now you have.

Power Consumption
Average, Idle
Maximum, 100% Load
Average, 100% Load
CPU 12 V In
27 W
302 W
250 W
CPU Package
21 W
218 W
206 W
VRM Loss
6 W
84 W
44 W

Temperatures

Thermals are through the roof. A water temperature reading of 38 degrees Celsius is staggering in its own right, and there's no way to get it lower, even with the cooler's fans manually set to their highest speed. The core temperature is visibly capped at 88 degrees Celsius, meaning there's a lot of throttling going on.

Let’s take one more look at the time-lapse video, which shows (for the first time) the CPU heating up faster than the voltage regulation circuitry underneath it.

Temperature T
Idle
Maximum, 100% Load
Average, 100% Load (Heated Up)
Core
28 °C
88 °C
78 °C
Package
29 °C
68 °C

Water (In / Out)
24 °C / 28 °C
38 °C

VRM
34 °C
69 °C

A Comparison of Frequency, Temperature, and Power Consumption

Our findings are summarized in the graph below, which primarily shows one thing: overclocking Intel's Core i7-5960X up to 4 GHz isn’t a problem. Between 4 and 4.5 GHz, power consumption and thermals rise much faster though. The top of that range (and the voltages required to achieve stability) represents the highest you can hope to go on air or water without worrying about your CPU. And even then, I wouldn't be so aggressive with a processor I wanted to last.

The absolute end of the line is 4.8 GHz, where the -5960X goes into self-preservation mode.

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    Top Comments
  • CaptainTom
    Yeah the real winner of a cpu here is definitely the 5820K. If I were building now, that is what I would use.
    25
  • JamesSneed
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.
    19
  • ohim
    1708933 said:
    Affordable 8-cores from Intel are finally coming. Awesome.


    1000$ is affordable to you ? :))

    87433 said:
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.



    Though you have a point here, the guy buying such CPUs most likely will game at above 1080p .. but this would have implied using 2 GPUs at least in the test.
    15
  • Other Comments
  • dovah-chan
    Oh boy here we go...
    -10
  • Merry_Blind
    Affordable 8-cores from Intel are finally coming. Awesome.
    -17
  • B4vB5
    Chris and Igor @ TomsHW,

    Bit disappointed to not see a comparison with the Xeon E5-1650v2(or 1660v2), as the 2600 is a bit overkill comparing prices. Some of us just need a workstation with ECC ram and not just a free-for-all(ie someone else is paying) Xeon 2600 fest.
    0
  • JamesSneed
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.
    19
  • ohim
    1708933 said:
    Affordable 8-cores from Intel are finally coming. Awesome.


    1000$ is affordable to you ? :))

    87433 said:
    Out of curiosity why were so many of the gaming tests only done at 2560x1440? Seems like you would be more GPU bound at this resolution. I'm not sure it really matters but I do like gaming at 1080p for the very high frame rates was curious if these would push frame rates higher. Otherwise nice review.



    Though you have a point here, the guy buying such CPUs most likely will game at above 1080p .. but this would have implied using 2 GPUs at least in the test.
    15
  • chiefpiggy
    Why do they call these their "5th generation" of Intel core processors if they're refreshes of the Haswell processors? I get that they have revolutionary technology within but with the release of broadwell so soon I doubt that anyone would buy these processors..
    -2
  • envy14tpe
    I need this system to play Minecraft. with that aside, Intel finally has made a jump in i7s value and performance.
    -4
  • therogerwilco
    Meh, looks like I'll be keepin my uber delid'd oc'd 4770k a bit longer
    6
  • srap
    "Single-threaded software is so last decade, though."
    I have a hunch that we will never see anything like this in the comment sections of AMD reviews. Not sure why :D
    8
  • CaptainTom
    Yeah the real winner of a cpu here is definitely the 5820K. If I were building now, that is what I would use.
    25
  • ingtar33
    so that 8 core monster pretty much caps out around 4.3-4.5ghz... shame. if it was a little higher i might be inclined to open the pocket book for that.
    7
  • mctylr
    From page 14, last paragraph:
    Quote:
    As Intel’s first official eight-core processor, the top Haswell-E model


    Er, no. No it's not the first eight core processor. It is the first eight-core consumer or Core iN series processor though.

    I also don't know of any unofficial 8-core processors either.
    4
  • DoDidDont
    Great news for people wanting to speed up their single socket systems in apps like Mental Ray, v-ray etc. I understand why Tom’s compared these new processors with the E5-2687w v2 in this review, but anyone splashing the cash on an E5-2687w v2 is going to buy two in a dual socket set-up making the system twice as fast as the top end 5960x in the majority of these benchmarks. It would be a waste of cash just buying one for a single socket system and not taking advantage of the QPI. For business users needing to produces multiple HQ images a day to meet deadlines I would still choose the Xeon’s over the I7. The Xeon’s pay for themselves within a few months. Waiting 48 hours for a batch of animation frames to render instead of 96 hours make a lot of difference.
    5
  • dgingeri
    Not really any significant CPU change from the SB-E or IB-E. The big changes come from the platform, and the x99 has the same interface as the x79. Technically, the x99 could support a SB-E processor, if Intel would let it. Again, I'm held back from making a change because Intel decided to force a CPU upgrade to make a technology upgrade cost $1500 instead of only about $400. I'll have to stick with my x79 for a while longer. It is just not worth the cost.
    0
  • dovah-chan
    134065 said:
    Were you disappointed by last year's Ivy Bridge-E launch? Core i7-5960X, -5930K, and -5820K promise more excitement, sporting up to eight cores, DDR4 memory, a new X99 chipset, and an LGA 2011-3 interface. Should you jump to upgrade, though? Intel Core i7-5960X, -5930K, And -5820K CPU Review: Haswell-E Rises : Read more


    I was wondering how often you writers read the comments? Just wondering.
    1
  • pierrerock
    Gee. DDR4 save about 5 W with 4 modules. And i was worried of pwer consumption when i overclocked my FX 8350 at 4.7 GHz :O
    4
  • dragonsqrrl
    Quote:
    Yeah the real winner of a cpu here is definitely the 5820K. If I were building now, that is what I would use.

    Ya, the 5820K really stands out, especially in comparison to Intel's previous lowest SKU processors on X79. For the first time the x820 actually looks like a great option to go with. It's the same as a 3960X in clock speed and core count, except it's Haswell which seems to result in a 10-15% performance boost, and it's over $600 cheaper. The only drawback might be if you have a lot of high bandwidth PCIe cards, but I doubt that'll be an issue for most enthusiasts.

    And omg that price:
    http://www.microcenter.com/product/437203/Intel_Core_i7-5820k_33_GHz_LGA_2011_V3_Tray_Processor

    ... I love Microcenter.
    5
  • maroon1
    Quote:
    Not really any significant CPU change from the SB-E or IB-E. .


    THe improvement in multi-threaded workloads are good. It is the biggest improvement per generation we have seen since gulftown
    3
  • Pavel Pokidaylo
    Um I'm a total noob. Can someone tell me approximately how much of an increase in performance I'd see using any of these over my i5 4670k? My CPU is not overclocked.
    I'm running a 780 ti and Gskill Ripjaw 1600 RAM.
    1
  • Champion_hero
    Hmm so for gaming, we're looking at either the 5820 or 4690..

    How would the cost of said systems compare, assuming we could create them as equal as possible? Would the performance benefits of the 5820 justify the additional cost?

    I'm still running on my old x58 i7 920, but it's starting to BSOD on CPU intensive games (although I suspect its my mobo that's the issue)...

    I wanted to build a new system this year, but don't want to make the same mistake I did with the x58 and be left with something that simply can't be upgraded after a year or so. At the same time, I don't want to buy into old tech if that too won't last..

    I have had a good run with my x58 mind, but am wary Intel may do what they did with my Gen 1 i7, and change something fundamental with the platform/DDR4 to mean I'll be 'stuck' with whatever I buy now...
    1