Intel took the wraps off its most powerful consumer CPU at the PAX video-game conference in Seattle, WA, Friday. Intel’s Core i7 High-end Desktop Processor Family, code-named Haswell-E, consists of three unlocked processors that support hyperthreading, DDR4 memory, and Intel’s all-new X99 chipset.
The top-of-the-line Core i7-5960X boasts eight cores (16 processor threads), 20MB of cache, and 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes. This $999 processor runs at a base clock frequency of 3.0GHz and torques up to 3.5GHz in turbo mode.
The Core i7-5930K provides six physical cores (12 processor threads), 15MB of cache, and 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Its base clock frequency is 3.5GHz (up to 3.7GHz in turbo mode) and costs $583. The Core i7-5820K is also a six-core (12 processor threads) CPU with 15MB of cache, but it supports only 28 PCIe 3.0 lanes. It runs at a base clock of 3.3GHz and a turbo frequency of 3.6GHz. Intel is pricing this chip at $389.
Since all three processors are unlocked, system builders and end users can tweak the PC's BIOS to run the CPUs at even higher clock speeds.
Haswell-E processors are the first consumer desktop CPUs to support quad-channel DDR4/2133 memory. As you may have guessed, anyone looking to upgrade from Ivy Bridge-E to Haswell-E will also need to buy a new motherboard and memory. And the new motherboard standard for Haswell-E, called X99, is insanely feature rich. In addition to its DDR4 support, Intel’s X99 chipset provides up to six USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, eight PCIe 3.0 lanes, and 10 SATA 6Gbps ports (Intel’s X79 chipset supports six SATA ports, but only two are the faster 6Gbps variety).
So we have new insanely fast and powerful processors and a new memory standard. What will the price of entry run you? We did some research, and at the top end, pairing an i7-5960 with Asus's X99-Deluxe board will set you back a steep $1397.00. And that's not a new PC folks, that's JUST the Motherboard and processor. On the cheaper side, pairing the i7-5820K with an EVGA X99 Micro will cost you $648. Memory is the holdout, as Samsung, the world's leading memory manufacturer, will not be releasing their DDR4 sticks for a few weeks at least. We were only able to find one manufacturer with DDR4 available for order, Corsair. Their 16GB kit will run $320. Obviously the price of entry for having the absolute fastest and most powerful computer a consumer can have is extremely steep, as is to be expected. Of course, these new components are targeted at gamers, content creators and PC enthusiasts. Most popular content-creation programs—including Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas Pro, and Cakewalk Sonar—are multi-threaded and can take full advantage of the multiple cores and processor threads Intel’s Extreme-series processors deliver. Games will benefit somewhat less, and this class of CPU is complete overkill for productivity apps and media playback. But speed junkies are sure to be pleased.