Faster Core i7 Extreme may be on the way

Intel isn’t exactly under a lot of competitive pressure at the $999 price point. AMD hasn’t offered a thousand-dollar desktop processor in many years, and Intel’s current flagship, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, remains unchallenged over eight months after its launch.

Nevertheless, the folks at DonanimHaber say Intel is planning to supplant the chip with an even faster offering: the Core i7-3970X. That model will reportedly have a 3.5GHz base clock and a 4GHz Turbo speed, up from 3.3GHz and 3.9GHz, respectively, from the i7-3960X. DonanimHaber claims Intel will also bump up the power envelope from 130W to 150W. The new chip should have the same 6 cores, 12 threads, 15MB of L3 cache, DDR3-1600 memory support, and LGA2011 package as its predecessor, though.

Word is that we can expect the Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition some time next quarter. If this report is accurate, then the faster chip’s arrival might lead to price cuts for slower offerings, or perhaps the introduction of a non-Extreme chip with the same specs as the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition. Right now, the fastest non-Extreme CPU in Intel’s LGA2011 lineup is the Core i7-3930K, which still has an unlocked upper multiplier but only runs at 3.2GHz with a 3.8GHz Turbo speed. The Core i7-3930K costs $569.99.

It’s worth pointing out that all of the aforementioned processors are (or are expected to be) Sandy Bridge-E offerings fabbed on Intel’s 32-nm process—not 22-nm CPUs derived from the newer Ivy Bridge architecture. According to an older story from German site ComputerBase, Sandy Bridge-E won’t be replaced at the top of Intel’s desktop processor family until the latter half of next year.

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    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Intel isn't exactly under a lot of competitive pressure at the $999 price point. AMD hasn't offered a thousand-dollar desktop processor in many years, and Intel's current flagship, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, remains unchallenged over eight months after its launch.[/quote<] And that may well be the case permanently from now on as AMD has stated that they won't pursue x86 performance as aggressively as they did in previous years.

    • bacondreamer
    • 7 years ago

    I’m still happy with my i7-965X 😀

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      That’s still a pretty cool CPU in today’s environment. I still can’t find enough reason to replace my 2.5-year old Phenom II X3 720 (unlocked 4th core), even if Ivy Bridge and Bulldozer have been knocking on my door for a while now. I mean, it allows me to post comments here at TR, check my email, play some games, and work just fine. 🙂

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I for one am interested in an Intel 8-core 2011 processor. Yes, for ePeen reasons.

    So let’s have it, Intel!

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      No, Intel didn’t give that to you last year, and probably not this year too. But AMD did that in [u<]2011[/u<]. You sure you don't want the World's First 8-Core Desktop Processor?

      • jihadjoe
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117272[/url<] You can always pick up a Xeon part. They've been available for a while and I heard gives you even more ePeen.

        • ronch
        • 7 years ago

        $1.900? You’d better get your epeen to keep you alive alright, since this proc will leave you with no money for anything else.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        I was pretty sure they already existed, thanks for the link!

        I wonder how well one would overclock in an Asus LGA2011 workstation board. Not that anything we do could really make use of the horsepower given that you could build an entire separate system for the price of that one and have two machines.

    • JMccovery
    • 7 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind a 4GHz, 200+ watt 8 core/16 thread SB-E…

    I wonder where the 22nm, 10 core Xeons are…

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      At what price? $2,500? $5,000???

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 7 years ago

        $10,000??????

          • dpaus
          • 7 years ago

          No, that would undercut the 22nm 10-core Xeons.

    • LauRoman
    • 7 years ago

    Can you hear yourself? ONLY runs at 3.2ghz on one of it’s SIX goddamned cores. And the price doubles for a gain between 100-300 mhz.

      • kilkennycat
      • 7 years ago

      What’s the fuss? The 6-core i7-3930K overclocks happily to 4.3GHz with the Intel water cooler. Been there, done that, in continuous daily usage running CUDA apps requiring a full CPU core-load as well as near 100% GPU activity….. and with nary a glitch for the last 3 months. Max. core temp is 77 degree C.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        Only 4.3GHz?

        I understand that there’s not much need for more, but with decent cooling those seem to hit 4.8GHz+ regularly like most Sandy Bridge CPUs, even if it is six cores of an eight core die.

          • cynan
          • 7 years ago

          A 4.8Ghz stable everyday overclock, without bumping up voltages to the point of risking diminishing service life, is a bit optimistic. From personal experience, and from reading X79 enthusiast forums, 4.5 to maaaybe 4.6Ghz seems to be about the max for everyday stable clocks. Water cooling doesn’t seem to improve this much either (though it will allow to hit much higher max short-term clocks of just over 5Ghz).

          [i<]Edit:[/i<] And even if it doesn't bother you to run your Sandy Bridge E at over 1.35V day in day out, the extra heat those 6 cores pump out at these voltages is not worth measly performance gain that accompanies the couple hundred extra MHz OC.

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            I agree it’s a balance- and I openly admit that I haven’t studied what’s generally achievable with stock voltage overclocking on these CPUs. I’ve seen people push the K CPU to 5.2 before though using a chilled loop, and I’ve gotten my 2500k up to 4.8GHz stable with a small voltage bump myself, while seeing similar results around the net.

            Mostly I think people are just being lazy, but that works for longevity as well. I also agree that if you get to 4.3GHz-4.4GHz and that’s enough for everything you do that trying to coax more out at the price of more heat and decreased operational lifespan is probably not warranted.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        Agreed. I can understand how Intel can get away with gouging for modest clock speed upgrades in the server market as overclocking is not as feasible in most server applications, but for the desktop parts, anyone who buys a higher end Sandy Bridge E processor than the i7-3930K is almost certainly a sucker.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      With unlocked multipliers, specified frequencies are rather irrelevant. Ivy Bridge is usually good for 4.6GHz and Sandy Bridge for 4.8GHz with the unlocked multipliers- hell, even the locked i7-3820 usually hits near 5.0GHz with classic FSB overclocking.

      This is news largely because Intel is releasing faster SKUs, which means that they are getting closer to the design limits of their processes. And hell, this CPU is still 32nm.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    The first sign of Intel slowing down due to lack of competition. $1000 processor upgrade based on the last gen manufacturing process and architecture. All we get is a speed bump of 200 MHz for the flagship processor that is over 6 months old now. That will soon go to one year on future upgrades.

    Edit: AMD we need you to do better or we are all screwed.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      Uh…this is exactly what they have done since the very first EE. And that exists to begin with because of AMD.

      What did you expect? 1 GHz faster? Ivy Bridge E? The abolition of the EE brand?

        • Kougar
        • 7 years ago

        Not quite. Until the 980X -> 990X transition which did take a full year to happen, Intel never waited 10+ months to replace its flagship Extreme Edition processor that I am aware of. This has been the slowest refresh cycle yet seen for any Intel platform that I can recall, as not even midrange SBE parts saw price cuts or new SKUs either.

        Even with LGA1366 and the 980X, Intel never waited a full year before adding new SKUs and chopping prices.

      • data8504
      • 7 years ago

      Hey now. I can assure you that no one around here is dragging their feet. With Xeon Phi, all the talk of Haswell, cell phones, as well as things unannounced, there’s no lack of innovation in our labs. What you’re missing is that “-E” variants (commonly referred to as HEDT parts) are derived (throughout the industry) more from server parts than desktop. Remember the whole thing about SB-E being an 8-core with two cores disabled? Think SB-EP. Anyhow, Sandy Bridge’s server parts’ (-E, -EP) development was staggered from the desktop effort, so I hope you’ll understand that Ivy Bridge would be the same way.

        • Forge
        • 7 years ago

        When you get a chance, shoot me one of those i7-3960Xs, will ya? I’ve got some “research” I want to do.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      The socket-2011 parts follow the server roadmap, which is kept slower on purpose because of the higher hurdles for validation that are needed in the server world. Both Intel & AMD follow different roadmaps on servers vs. desktop & mobile devices.

      You can complain about how Intel is dragging its feet on the Socket-2011 parts, but on the regular desktop & mobile things appear to be going at a pretty good clip for new products. The ramp for 22nm parts has been the fastest for any process in Intel’s history, and Haswell will be out next spring too.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      Well I’ve said this before…but I think it has to do with resources and market focus. I feel like AMD is focusing a lot on the GPU market, and the current Radeons are looking very nice. As a result, Intel (who doesn’t really have a GPU business) is doing a lot of really nice things with CPUs and chipsets without any pushback from AMD.

      So yeah, it would be nice to see AMD get some competition going between it and Intel, but I think they have their eyes on nvidia right now.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      Intel is only completing with themselves- but at least they’re following their tick/tock strategy. With their support of overclocking through the K and X series, they’re allowing enthusiasts to run their CPUs at the limits of the processes they build them on.

      I have no complaints.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Edit: AMD we need you to do better or we are all screwed.[/quote<] Er... ya. You said it, Captain Obvious. 😀

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        That was obvious while we waited with baited breath for Bulldozer, pouring over the paper stats hoping it would live up to the potential of it’s new design; STARS was/is getting old with it’s Penryn-era IPC and process refinements and design tweaks weren’t going to get it to compete with Intel’s Cores.

        When Bulldozer turned out to be uncompetitive with Intel’s lineup, I think we all shed a small tear for the future of CPUs. Right now we can just hope and pray that AMD gets their stuff together and pushes their new architecture to the performance heights it looks capable of achieving on paper!

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          Well, actually, if you opt for an FX over an Intel it’s not like you’re gonna burn down the house or go bankrupt. It’s not really that bad. The FX is not a gaming CPU, but the problem is that most home users seem to think that gaming performance is paramount. For most common tasks such as web surfing and watching movies, the FX is completely adequate. I know I sound like AMD but it’s true.

          The thing is, AMD decided to create a processor that is actually innovative — and daring — for such a small company with nowhere near the R&D spending that Intel has. You can think of the FX as something akin to the Itanium. The Itanium is not your gaming CPU of choice obviously, because it’s meant for other things. Before designing the FX I’m sure AMD researched the market and determined where it should position itself relative to its competition given its resources. The vast majority of computers sold is in the corporate space, and that’s where AMD stands to profit most, and hence, that’s where AMD focused its efforts. I know many people here feel like AMD has abandoned or failed hard in the desktop market but I think they really did their best to hit as many birds with one stone. They may not have been able to match Intel’s finest, but once you realize that microprocessors are perhaps the most sophisticated devices created by mankind, and given AMD’s scant resources, then you realize AMD did more than what could be expected of them.

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