Progress marches on and it’s marching in a big way. Clarkdale processors have been replaced by Sandy Bridge and the same fate awaits the Gulftown series thanks to the upcoming release of the Sandy Bridge E that will use the new uber high-end LGA2011 socket expected to launched in the first quarter of 2012 assuming the world doesn’t end.
Intel has finally released the specs on the first three models with the baddest of the bunch being the i7-3960X Extreme Edition. This monster packs 6 physical cores (12 threads in total thanks to hyper threading) and 15MB of L3 cache. Running at a nominal frequency of 3.30GHz, it can get up to 3.90GHz with Turbo Boost.
If selling off some organs to cover the expected $1000 price tag of the i7-3960X isn’t an option, there is also the i7-3930K that features the same number of threads as the former but the L3 cache has been reduced to 12MB. It runs at 3.20GHz but with Turbo Boost can reach 3.80Ghz. Both the i7-3960X and i7-3930K feature unlocked multipliers so the sky is the limit.
Finally, there is the more cost friendly offering, the i7-3820. Dropping a couple cores to 4 (8 threads with hyper threading), it sports a faster clock speed of 3.60GHz and can reach 3.90GHz with Turbo Boost. The L3 cache has been reduced further to a still beefy 10MB, but the multiplier is locked and barley capable of breaking the 4GHz mark based on my past Sandy Bridge overclocking experience (due to the limiter on BCLK).
I had read before now that Intel has been having issues with the new X79 chipset that will accompany the new processors and is the reason for the delay from Q3 2011 to likely Q1 2012. Will this give AMD a chance to get its foot in the door with the launch of Bulldozer? We’ll see.