Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU Review

The Reviewed CPUs

In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs we included in this review. We are basically comparing the new Core i7-3960X to the previous fastest and most expensive CPU from Intel, the Core i7-990X. AMD doesn’t have any product that competes directly with these CPUs, as the most high-end AMD processor, the FX-8150, costs USD 270, less than one third of the price of the CPU we are reviewing. Nevertheless, we included this AMD CPU in our comparison, even though we know that it is unfair.

The LGA2011 and LGA1366 CPUs support Hyper-Threading technology, meaning that each processing core is recognized as two by the operating system. Therefore, the two Core i7 processors we included in our review are recognized as 12-core products.

CPU Cores HT Internal Clock Turbo Clock Max Turbo Core Technology TDP Socket Price
AMD FX-8150 8 No 3.6 GHz 3.9 GHz 4.2 GHz Zambezi 32 nm 125 W AM3+ USD 270
Core i7-990X 6 Yes 3.46 GHz 3.73 GHz 3.73 GHz Gulftown 32 nm 130 W 1366 USD 1,000
Core i7-3960X 6 Yes 3.3 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz Sandy Bridge-E 32 nm 130 W 2011 USD 1,050

The prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

TDP stands for Thermal Design Power, which tells the maximum amount of heat the CPU can dissipate. The CPU cooler must be capable of dissipating at least this amount of heat.

Below we compare the memory cache configuration of the reviewed CPUs. The L2 memory cache of the AMD FX-8150 is shared by each pair of cores. Thus, it has four L2 caches instead of eight.

CPU L1 Cache L2 Cache L3 Cache Memory Support Memory Channels
AMD FX-8150 64 KB + 64 KB per core 2 MB x 4 8 MB total Up to DDR3-1866 Two
Core i7-990X 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 KB per core 12 MB total Up to DDR3-1066 Three
Core i7-3960X 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 KB per core 15 MB total Up to DDR3-2133 Four

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Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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