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Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme Core i7 3960X Review



2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Comparison
Core™ i7-3960X Processor
Extreme Edition
Core™ i7-3930K Processor
Core™ i7-3820 Processor
Number of Processor Cores
Number of Simultaneous Threads with Intel®
Hyper-Threading Technology
Intel® Smart Cache Size
15 MB
12 MB
10 MB
Processor Base Frequency
3.3 GHz
3.2 GHz
3.6 GHz
Memory Frequency
1600 MHz
1600 MHz
1600 MHz
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
Number of DDR3 Memory Channels
Overclocking Enabled
Intel® Express Chipset



  • Six Core/12 Thread Processing:  Provides six complete execution cores in a single processor package, delivering 12 computing threads to help operating systems and applications deliver additional performance, so users can experience better multitasking and multi-threaded performance across many types of applications and workloads.
  • Massive PCIe Graphics Bandwidth:  Provides up to 40 lanes of PCIe bandwidth for PCI Express* devices, which can include graphics cards, storage controllers, and additional LAN devices. This processor has more than 2X the PCIe lanes vs. other 2nd Generation Intel Core desktop processors.
  • Four Channel Integrated Memory Controller:  An integrated memory controller with four channels of DDR3 1600 MHz offers memory bandwidth up to 51.2 GB/s. Combined with the processor’s efficient prefetching algorithms, this memory controller’s lower latency and higher memory bandwidth delivers amazing performance for data-intensive applications.
  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology:  Delivers two processing threads per physical core for a total of 12 threads for massive computational throughput, allowing highly threaded applications to get more work done faster.
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0:  Dynamically increases the processor’s frequency as needed by taking advantage of thermal and power headroom when operating below specified limits. Get more performance automatically, when you need it the most.
  • Intel® Smart Cache:  This large last-level cache enables dynamic and efficient allocation of shared cache to all six cores to match the needs of various applications for ultra-efficient  data storage and manipulation.
  • Intel AVX Processor instructions that significantly improve floating point performance.
  • Intel HD Boost:  Includes the full SSE4 instruction set, significantly improving a broad range of multimedia and compute-intensive applications. The 128-bit SSE instructions are issued at a throughput rate of one per clock cycle, allowing a new level of processing efficiency with SSE4-optimized applications.



All information courtesy of Intel

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: DX79SI
  3. Closer Look: Intel RTS2011LC Liquid Cooling solution
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, GeekBench, Bibble 5
  7. Testing: Office 2007, POV-Ray, ProShow Gold, HandBrake
  8. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011, AIDA 64
  9. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune, PCMark 7
  10. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  11. Testing: Civilization V
  12. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  13. Testing: 3DMark 11
  14. Upcoming Reviews
  15. Conclusion
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