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When most people think of Sandy Bridge they think of the now famous i7 2600K and i5 2500K as they are priced right and have been shown to be excellent overclockers to boot a big plus with gamers and enthusiasts alike making Intel the number 1 choice in PC gaming processors. With the release of the new SBE i7 3960X we see Intel shift gears from the previous generation of Extreme CPUs. The previous generation X58 for the ZIF Socket 1366 were not based on the same technology used in the Sandy Bridge platform, and were actually slightly older technology not bleeding edge when the i7 990X was released a few months back, but still geared for the bleeding edge crowd. Now with the release of these new SBE CPUs the High-End CPU is the High Tech solution in all ways across the board. There are a few new CPUs being launched by Intel today for the new X79 Chipset, the 3960X and 3930X being both Hex-Core and a new Quad Corei7 3820 at 3.6GHz. The i7 3960X runs at 3.9GHz in Turbo Mode and offers and unlocked core for overclockers to tweak with.
I7 SBE 3960X Core Features
- Up to 6 Execution Cores
- Each core supports two threads (Intel Hyper-Threading Technology) for up to 12 threads
- A 32-KB instruction and 32-KB data first-level cache (L1) for each core
- A 256-KB shared instruction/data mid-level (L2) cache for each core
- Up to 15MB last level cache (LLC): up to 2.5MB per core instruction/data last level cache (LLC), shared among all cores
I7 SBE Supported Technologies
- Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d)
- Intel®VirtualizationTechnologyIntel®CoreTMi7processorfamilyfortheLGA-2011 socket Extensions
- Intel® 64 Architecture Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.1 (Intel SSE4.1)
- Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.2 (Intel SSE4.2) Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology Execute Disable Bit
- Intel Turbo Boost Technology Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology
I7 SBE System Memory Support
- The processor supports 4 DDR3 channels with 1 Unbuffered DIMM per channel
- Unbuffered DDR3 DIMMs supported
- Data burst length of eight cycles for all memory organization modes
- Memory DDR3 data transfer rates of 1066, 1333, and 1600 MT/s
- DDR3 UDIMM standard I/O Voltage of 1.5 V
- 1-Gb, 2-Gb, and 4-Gb DDR3 DRAM technologies supported for these devices:
- UDIMMs x8, x16
- Up to 2 ranks supported per memory channel, 1 or 2 ranks per DIMM
- Open with adaptive idle page close timer or closed page policy
- Command launch modes of 1n/2n
- Improved Thermal Throttling with dynamic CLTT
- Memory thermal monitoring support for DIMM temperature using two memory signals, MEM_HOT
i7 SBE PCI Express Features
- The PCI Express* port(s) are fully-compliant to the PCI Express* Base Specification, Revision 3.0 (PCIe 3.0)
- Support for PCI Express* 3.0 (8.0 GT/s), PCI Express 2.0 (5.0 GT/s), and PCI Express* (2.5 GT/s)
- Up to 40 lanes of PCI Express* interconnect for general purpose PCI Express devices at PCI Express 3.0 speeds that are configurable for up to 10 independent ports.
- Negotiating down to narrower widths is supported, see — x16 port (Port 2 & Port 3) may negotiate down to x8, x4, x2, or x1
- x8 port (Port 1) may negotiate down to x4, x2, or x1
- x4 port (Port 0) may negotiate down to x2, or x1
- When negotiating down to narrower widths, there are caveats as to how lane reversal is supported
- Address Translation Services (ATS) 1.0 support
- Hierarchical PCI-compliant configuration mechanism for downstream devices
- Traditional PCI style traffic (asynchronous snooped, PCI ordering)
- PCI Express extended configuration space. The first 256 bytes of configuration space aliases directly to the PCI compatibility configuration space. The remaining portion of the fixed 4-KB block of memory-mapped space above that (starting at 100h) is known as extended configuration space.
- PCI Express Enhanced Access Mechanism. Accessing the device configuration space in a flat memory mapped fashion.
Having Six-Cores/12 Threads is now nothing new and yet the way those cores are accessed and used has been redeveloped in the new LGA-2001 package for better energy efficiency and performance levels never seen in the desktop environment. The CPU has a number of key features that are new to the end user as well as improvements in some older features to ad some new life into this platform. Smart features like Turbo Boost 2.0 and better virtualization for multi-core applications as well as better Hyper-Threading and a new 4-channel memory controller allow 64GBs of memory to be addressed via 8 channels of DDR3. Standard memory frequencies are also increased to 1600MHz instead of 1333, and with a 15MB Smart Cache applications should be able to be accessed much faster than previous generation CPUs. Everybody these days is into media on their PC; its like second nature to listen to music and watch movies, Intel HD Boost uses the SSE4 instructing set that helps to maximize the efficiency of running multiple multimedia applications simultaneously. For floating point performance Intel has added more to their AVX technology, which greatly improves floating point performance and allows better power control of the CPU. Overclocking is not only allowed nowadays it’s highly encouraged and things like SpeedStep technology allow minute increments of voltage tweaks for maximum control and stability. I am not an engineer and the white paper for this CPU launch is huge, but I wanted to cover the most commonly talked about and user viable features of the new Sand Bridge-E CPUs.