A Sign Of Things To Come
I’ve made no secret of my disappointment with Ivy Bridge and Haswell. After the gloriousness that was Nehalem and then Sandy Bridge, the following two architectures made me question Intel’s commitment to the desktop PC.
The expediency with which Intel made Devil’s Canyon happen after receiving the community’s feedback on Haswell signified a change in direction, though. And while we haven’t gotten our hands on a sample capable of 5GHz yet, Intel says it’s seeing a notable population of parts capable of that symbolically significant clock rate.
Instead, we were able to test a quintet of something even juicier—the eight-core i7-5960X. Retail examples all, we had little trouble taking all five to 4.5GHz (a 1.2GHz overclock over the chip’s 3.3GHz stock Turbo Boost setting with eight cores active). Single-threaded frequencies bounced between 4.8 and 4.9GHz. Despite Haswell-E’s business-class pedigree (these are the same dies used to make Xeon CPUs), Intel exposes a handful of additional tuning options to make the Core i7s even more attractive to enthusiasts. Needless to say, we're happy to see it.