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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.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • naihan
    Boring. Call me when X99 platform is available.
    Reply
  • 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:
    surface alongside Haswell-based 9-series chipsets

    Shouldn't that be Broadwell?
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    I bet it overclocks like a beast. :)
    Lol now time to spend $1000 to save on my power bill.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    11172422 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.

    Reply
  • Someone Somewhere
    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.
    Reply
  • 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Reply
  • shin0bi272
    still no gaming benchmarks eh? I guess I'll save my money and stick with my i7-920 for a little bit longer.
    Reply