Availability and Cost of Haswell-E SKUs
Above, you can see the models at launch (as of August 29th) as well as their pricing. Note that it’s the cores, threads, cache, and PCI Express lanes that improve, as you pay more. Interestingly, the Core i7-5960X is $999 at launch, but we’ve always seen the premium chips go for $200 to $300 more. If you don’t have that kind of budget, the Core i7-5930K (an unlocked CPU) will surprise you, but at the loss of two physical cores. So if you want high end multi-threaded performance, you’ll still want to opt for the Core i7-5960X.
A New Chipset – Intel X99
While the LGA 2011-3 processors supply the processing power to push the latest apps and games, the new Intel X99 chipset is more important as it allows the CPU to take advantage of its processing power. Found on new motherboards from all the major players like ASUS, GIGABYTE and MSI, at launch, the X99 chipset supports multi-GPUs, but will obviously cost more than Z87 or Z97. On top of that, motherboard companies will add extra features that will help make the chipset even better than what Intel had hoped for. Some features not shown include the additon of 10GB/s M.2 connectors onboard, as well as SATA Express ports on some solutions. More gaming oriented solutions will often come with enhanced audio, networking, and overclocking features as well.
What’s in the Retail Box?
Intel has said that a standard air cooled heat sink will be bundled with all Haswell-E processors including the Core i7-5960X. As you can imagine, those retail PWM fans get very loud under load. However, if you want to stay away from loud and hot stock coolers, users have the option of buying an Intel TS13X all in one liquid cooler, compatible with a huge number of computer cases. Of course, more seasoned DIY enthusiasts can opt to purchase something a bit more robust.
Test System Configuration
In order to stress test the new Intel Core i7-5960x processor, we needed to come up with a system that would be worthy to test it. Although components like boards and DDR4 modules may be scarce at launch, we were still able to come up with the following configuration.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E
- Motherboard: ASUS X99 Deluxe
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4×4 GB 2800MHz DDR4
- Graphics: NVidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB – SLI
- Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD
- Power: be quiet! 850 Watt DarkPower Pro 80Plus Gold
- Cooling: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate
Our operating system of choice will continue to be Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit with a fresh install and all patches loaded.
The latest drivers and UEFI BIOS (as of the date of this review) was used to test and retest the CPU performance of this new chip. The DDR4 memory was set to a CPU supported 2133 MHz, allowing us to focus on the chip and what it could do.
In another article, we’ll come back and examine what the chip can do with the latest batch of Intel X99 series boards at launch, and further down the line, test what higher end modules and overclocking can do to the performance curve.