First thing that I want to say, is that I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity to try out this fantastic processor as we were still in our early days of starting out with the original i7 1366 range of processors came onto the stage. Luckily we had a 990X close by for comparison purposes and could test it side by side with the 3960X to see what further technologies had been developed.
The 3960X has been released as a show stopper that is said to blow the competition out of the water and frankly it does. You may find yourself looking back at the charts and asking us where it blows the competition out of the water, and we’d invite you to look at the CPU intensive applications such as Super PI and Cinebench that really shows off the raw compute power that the 3960X has up its sleeve.
Sure in gaming, it doesn’t show a mass amount of difference but this CPU was never aimed at gamers in mind, much like the socket 1366 counterpart. If you want a gaming CPU you’re much more likely to go for a i5 2500k as it offers a great bang for buck whilst not skimping on performance where needed the most. We also can see that not a lot of games or other applications can fully utilise the 6 core/12 thread architecture that this CPU has, so that will be something to look forward to in the future.
Talking of price, hold on to your chair as the 3960X is retailing at £839 in the UK which is bloody expensive, but we all knew that it would be. The Extreme Edition CPUs from Intel have always had a price point similar to this, and the 3960X wasn’t going to be any different, though other models due in the lineup such as the 3930K will offer similar specifications but for around half of the cost. We quite frankly can’t wait to see how the performance compares on that one, as it should offer the price/performance ratio that most are hoping for.
When performing our tests, we made it clear that we wanted to show the potential when compared to other Intel platforms. Sure we showed a couple of results from the FX-8150, but frankly what’s the point? The socket 1155 already pushed ahead of that, so instead we wanted to show the comparison between the old, the new and the brand spanking new. With this in mind, we looked at the 990X socket 1366 CPU, the i7 2700k socket 1155 CPU and of course the 3960X and for another very good reason. We can’t see any AMD customer who generally spends around £200 on a CPU ready to ditch that in and splash out over £800 on their first Intel chip, but instead this CPU will be bought by existing Intel users who have experienced the best from them and want to carry that on with a refresh of more cores and newer technology.
With that in mind, this CPU is only going to appeal to the world elite and will find a lot of users wanting one, but never having the cash to actually purchase it and it’s not just the processor that’s going to break the bank balance. Much like X58, the associated cost of the board is higher than the likes of AMD or even Intel’s very own Z68 platform and then you have the likes of quad channel memory poking its head into the mix which can end up having a X79 system as a costly upgrade, but we knew that anyway.
Whilst this has been an interesting processor to test, we’re not ending it there as we’ll be releasing a lot more content to show the true potential behind gaming, as we believe there is more to it than this chip first leads us to believe. We’ll also be looking at the overclocking side of things in a lot more detail as there is still so much that we haven’t touched on. It’s an exciting time for Intel at the moment and with Ivy Bridge next on the map, it’s certainly going to be an interesting future.