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Intel Hardware

Intel Launches Sandy Bridge-E Series Processors 204

MojoKid writes "Today marks the release of Intel's Sandy Bridge-E processor family and its companion X79 Express chipset. The first processor to arrive is the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition, a six-core chip manufactured using Intel's 32nm process node that features roughly 2.27 billion transistors. The initial batch of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs will feature 6 active execution cores that can each process two threads simultaneously via Intel Hyper-Threading technology. Although, the chip's die actually has eight cores on board (two inactive), due to power and yield constraints, only six are active at this time. These processors will support up to 15MB of shared L3 Intel Smart Cache and feature integrated quad-channel memory controllers with official support for DDR3 memory at speeds up to 1600MHz, as well as 40 integrated PCI Express 3.0 compatible lanes. Performance-wise, Sandy Bridge-E pretty much crushes anything on the desktop currently, including AMD's pseudo 8-core FX-8150 processor."
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Intel Launches Sandy Bridge-E Series Processors

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  • by CubicleView ( 910143 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:18AM (#38047894) Journal
    So it's very heavy then?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but they are bench-marking a $1000 processor against a $300 processor?

    $1000 processor wins!

    • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:16AM (#38048358) Homepage Journal

      Because it actually provides context on how much better (or not how much better) that $1000 processor is. Plus, how many other desktop $1000 processors are out there to benchmark against? Certainly nothing from AMD.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        Look at the article above this one about the 16 core AMD processors. If people are going to compare $1000 processors against $300 ones why not take a wander into server space? The goal posts have already been unfairly moved so why not give them a bit more of a nudge into Xeon and Opteron space?
        • Um...maybe because these aren't Xeons? They're high-end enthusiast chips. Xeons based on 2011 are due early next year.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:19AM (#38048400)

      There are only three things that you can bench it against usefully:

      1) The 2500/2600k CPUs that are the high end for the consumer boards. The question there is "What do I get moving up to the much more expensive E series?"

      2) The top of the line AMD Bulldozer. The question there is "How much faster is Intel's high end than AMD's high end?"

      3) The previous Intel high end, the i7-990X. The question there is "How much faster would it be if I upgraded?"

      In all cases, you are talking a very high priced, over spec'd part. There are no other chips in its category really. It is for people who demand the max performance and aren't concerned with the stiff price premium to have it.

    • they are bench-marking a $1000 processor against a $300 processor?

      They are benchmarking the topen end desktop part of the current generation* against both thetop end desktop parts of the previous generation (990x), the upper-mainstream of the current generation (2700K) and the best chip the competitor can come up with (FX-8150). What else are they supposed to compare it with?

      It is a bit dissapointing is that they don't have the 3930K in the test, it should be only slightly slower thant the 3960x while being a lot cheaper. From what I can gather this is because intel didn'

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      $1000 processor wins!

      Not if you can build two computers out of $300 processors. ;-)

    • It's not a benchmark to see which is better, it's a benchmark to see how much better it is.

  • A bit underwhelming (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:25AM (#38047928) Homepage

    Honestly, with a $500+ entry tag plus cooler which is not included plus expensive, low volume motherboard you might want to compare to a dual processor Xeon machine rather than other desktops for some alleged server/workstation stability too. Performance was as expected, 6 cores to 4 so it's faster in well-threaded workstation applications, not that different otherwise.

    What's disappointing is the platform, no USB 3.0, two SATA 6 Gbps ports, no SAS support, it seems like PCI express 3.0 made it in but no cards support it yet so there's nothing besides the processor that really screams high end. Well that and 8 memory slots if you feel 4x4GB isn't enough but there's alternatives like the old high end it replaces with 6 slots or 8 GB sticks that have been showing up lately - pricey but you can get 4x8GB for less than one of these CPUs. Don't get me wrong, it's the undisputed performance king but it's like the same car with a souped up engine and fuel system yet none of the features that say this is a $100k Ferrari.

    • by slaker ( 53818 )

      This is being positioned as a hobbyist platform, same as LGA1366. The affordable E-series (i7-type) Xeons don't boot on consumer-class motherboards and don't have chipset support SMP though. These guys are the only game in town for people who want to stick three video cards in something and get a top notch CPU to go with it.

      • no hobbyist will spend $1000 for a cpu+cooler for these performances. pointless. leave aside lack of a lot of major stuff like usb 3 et al.

        and, not 3, but 4 video cards in crossfire or sli will not require this kind of computing power. even if you shove in 2 x 6990s in crossfire, which make 4 top-rate gpus put into 2 cards. apparently you dont know this enthusiast field, so dont bullshit about it.
        • no hobbyist will spend $1000 for a cpu+cooler for these performances. pointless. leave aside lack of a lot of major stuff like usb 3 et al.

          No, but someone who calls themselves a hobbyist, but is actually a moron will. These parts are intel going "look, we made the E5 Xeons, by the way, if you're a moron and want to hand us cash, please buy the desktop variants".

          The E5 Xeons released with these parts are really where the news is.

        • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

          Oh, you're astroturfing for AMD's marketing department again.

          Many hobbyists will easily spend $1k on this, it's a fact. Hell, averaged over a lifetime, computing is still a cheap hobby, compared to things like flying, amateur motor racing etc.

          As for the double cards, you may very well need the CPU to generate the data that you want to display over all those cards.

          My brother for example would love this CPU for his CAD work for his hobby(he designs and builds stuff as a hobby), and all the CUDA/OpenCL modules

          • head to overclock net and see if hobbyists will spend anything on this. you wont find anyone who breaks overclock records or does custom water cooling spending $1000 on this. only fanboys with brand loyalty. that is normal.

            your brother is better off with a dual socket solution and amd opterons if he is doing anything that serious. which could come even cheaper than this intel setup and provide multiples of performance. if he isnt doing that already, then he doesnt know shit, and your argument is null.
            • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

              So that's AMD's marketing approach these days "Anyone who doesn't buy our systems is worthless, a fanboy and we'll deride them, and hope they buy our systems when we've insulted them enough"? And in regards to overclockers, do you really think they are the only hobbyists? Seriously? And even then, many overclockers who know what they are doing will buy them and make use of them.

              For his work, the 3930 will beat dual Opterons, because the computational tasks are not that easily parallellized, so you need stro

        • And you haven't looked at any benches of SLI/XFire on SB-E. It's surprising how much better it does over other platforms with 2-3 video cards.
        • What about 4 6990's in quad crossfire
          I have no clue if thats even possible, but what would be the performance limitations of such a system?
    • These are Intel's "enthusiast" parts which generally means "people with too much money". Some people want the highest end performance, price is no issue. Intel is happy to stick a hose in their pockets and siphon out the cash.

      That's also why these came after the regular SB parts. Intel full and well knows that for 99.99% of people a standard SB is more than plenty and they'd like to have something economical.

      In terms of the other things you'd like to see, USB3 and more SATA 3 will probably be coming but Int

    • you might want to compare to a dual processor Xeon machine

      Well you can get 8-12 cores with one of those BUT they are previous-generation cores (the dual-socket variant of LGA2011 isn't out yet) and you have to pay through the nose to get a decent clockspeed. The only people I know of who have purchased dual xeon workstations have done so for the ram support.

      What's disappointing is the platform, no USB 3.0, two SATA 6 Gbps ports, no SAS support, it seems like PCI express 3.0 made it in but no cards support it yet

      But you have far more lanes. Afaict LGA2011 has 40 lanes from the processor. So even if PCIe3 doesn't pan out you can have two graphics cards running at 2.0 x16 and still have room for a nice LSI sas controller

  • Wait for Ivy Bridge. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wildstoo ( 835450 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:29AM (#38047964)

    That's nice and everything, but I'll wait for Ivy Bridge [], which is due March 2012.

    According to Wikipedia:

    Ivy Bridge feature improvements from Sandy Bridge were expected to include:

    Tri-gate transistor technology (up to 50% less power consumption)
    PCI Express 3.0 support
    Max CPU multiplier of 63 (57 for Sandy Bridge)
    RAM support up to 2800MT/s in 200MHz increments
    Next Generation Intel HD Graphics with DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and OpenCL 1.1 support
    The built-in GPU is believed to have up to 16 execution units (EUs), compared to Sandy Bridge's maximum of 12.
    The new random number generator and the RdRand instruction, which is codenamed Bull Mountain.
    Next Generation Intel Quick Sync Video
    DDR3 low voltage for mobile processors
    Multiple 4k video playback

    So yeah, just hang on for the die shrink if you care about performance and power consumption. My next system will definitely be Ivy Bridge based.

    • I'm going to wait for Ivy Bridge too.

      I'm then going to buy an i5 2500K chip and Z68 motherboard for pennies, load it up with yesterday's memory, and have a system which will last me another 5 years. It's worked well with my existing nForce 680i / Core2Quad Q6600 setup.
      • The Z68 isn't likely to go down in price any, it is the chipset for the IB. The IBs are drop-in replacements for SB processors, same board, same chipset, and all that. In terms of RAM, same deal. They'll still use DDR3. Now that doesn't mean you'll pay much for it, DDR3 is dirt cheap, like $100 or less for 16GB of high quality RAM, but it won't be any cheaper on account of new RAM coming out (RAM is also cheapest when it is in the most production, not because of new tech).

        In terms of the CPU... Maybe. Thing

        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

          I've got a Z80 right here. I can't imagine how fast a Z68 must be!

          Did they finally break that 65536 bytes barrier?

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      Careful, this kind of thinking may keep you from ever getting any upgrade at all. There's always something niftier coming in half a year.

    • That's nice and everything, but I'll wait for Ivy Bridge, which is due March 2012.

      So yeah, just hang on for the die shrink if you care about performance and power consumption. My next system will definitely be Ivy Bridge based.

      That's nice and everything, but I would just wait for Haswell [], which is due in 2013.

      So yeah, just hang on for the die shrink from Sandy Bridge if you care about performance and power consumption. My next system will definitely be Haswell based.

      That's nice and everything, but I would just wait for Haswell [], which is due in 2013.

      So yeah, just hang on for the die shrink from Sandy Bridge if you care about performance and power consumption. My next system will definitely be Haswell based.

      That's nice and everything, but I would just wait for Broadwell [], which is due in 2014.

      So yeah, just hang on for the die shrink if you care about performance and power consumption. My next system will definitely be Broadwell based.

    • by coder111 ( 912060 ) <coder&rrmail,com> on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:03AM (#38048258)
      This is all nice and well, but are there any sites that actually benchmark this CPU under Linux, running some stuff not compiled with intel compiler? AFAIK most of the benchmark software is running on windows is compiled with ICC, and ICC cheats- it disables most optimizations on non-intel CPUs.

      How about some linux developer workload? Compile times? IDE performance? Java performance? PHP, Apache, PostgreSQL, MySQL performance? KDE/Gnome performance? CAD/CAM? Matlab or Octave? Bzip2/gzip/SSL/zip under Linux? I know some of these workloads depend on IO/graphics more than on CPU, but I'd like to see results anyway. And I'm sick and tired of reviews that run some Intel compiled synthetic benchmarks and then some games that primarily use GPU anyway. Phoronix is guilty of that as well- they should have more WORK workloads and less FPS counts for games. But at least they are trying- and Bulldozer performance under Linux/GCC isn't that bad compared to Intel CPUs as it is under Windows/ICC.

  • In case you want more than just hothardware, here's a decent selection
  • by spaceman375 ( 780812 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:49AM (#38048140)
    The chip has eight cores, they all work, but you can only use six. The other two are reserved for the DHS and cronies. I, for one, do NOT welcome our dual-core overlords.

    (I've always wanted to start a conspiracy theory.)

    • They're for processing the most efficient flight lanes to use when dusting us with their "contrail" mind control chemicals.

      No, the pollen filter in your car won't protect you; They pre-seeded that.
  • DOH ! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 )
    All the new generation, ALL that high price, and it still comes up close with amd's new cpus in multithreaded performance ? []

    no wonder there have been 3 opteron (bulldozer) supercomputer orders in the last 3 weeks.
    • by PIBM ( 588930 )

      From 46 FPS (AMD 8150, 8 'cores') to 72 FPS (3960x, 6 cores) is close for you ? Wrong link ? Trolled ?

      • MULTITHREADED performance it says. not fps. there are cheaper amd chips which do fps as well with cheaper prices.
        • by PIBM ( 588930 )

          That's the number of frame per second that the MULTITHREADED VIDEO ENCODER was being able to encode. All of the provided benchmark on that page were about video encoding using multithreaded encoders, and the new proc was beating all others easily. That's why I asked if it was the wrong link perhaps?

          • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

            So the target market is those filthy movie pirates?

            Next up: the MPAA demands 50% of Intel's profits!

            • by PIBM ( 588930 )

              No kids ? No wife ? No video camera perhaps ? Or just not getting out of your basement ? Encoding 1080p video takes a while, and I should soon start encoding dual stream (3d) 1080p.. That kind of power would be welcome for me (sporting an i7-960 on the computer running the video tools). Anyway, that's the original poster link target..

              • oh yeah. instead of encoding in the time that it takes for me to go get a cup of tea and back, now my encoding will be complete by i reach the door to wc while passing through the corridor from the kitchen to the living room. yes. that totally justifies shelling out $900 to encode my home videos.
                • by PIBM ( 588930 )

                  Some people are not bothered by that 900$. Some people will buy the outrageously priced video cards for the limited benefits. You don't need that 80" LCD TV either, but it's nice to have. Shaving 10-15 minutes off my encoding when I want something is nice to have too. Beside, there's much more to be done on a computer that will benefit from this processor. Think about compiling & linking, where the time saved directly correlate to money in the pocket. Not that I would buy this processor, but there's def

                  • Some people are not bothered by that 900$. Some people will buy the outrageously priced video cards for the limited benefits.

                    i am one of those 'some people', and i participate in communities that are populated by those people, and noone will buy something that provides only 15-20% performance, but burns a small oven and is priced at a fucking $900.

              • by kesuki ( 321456 )

                you sir are incorrect, i haven't found the specs online, but only blu-ray devices support 1080p and i was pretty sure 3-d didn't need dual progressive scans but rather two interlaced streams that form a 1080p image. but the wiki on it claimed it uses 50% more overhead suggesting dual 1080p streams. but as the 3ds shows us 3-d doesn't have to mean high definition.

                besides 3d is a fad, with 18% of the population unable to watch 3d (seizures) and many more complaining of headaches it's not likely to be widespre

                • by PIBM ( 588930 )

                  Side By Side (SBS) encoding is often done with two full quality streams. You can pipe it to two projectors (with polarizing filters) and I know that some TVs can accept the stream too (mine do, at least). I'm not sure on what you meant about the fact that only blu ray devices support 1080p, but I've been running a triplehead setup of 2560x1600 screens since 2007, which makes it 6 times higher in resolution than a 1080p stream. Screen caps are huge, so much that I am not recording much of them anymore.

                  It's s

          • by makomk ( 752139 )

            x264 used to be quite heavily optimized for Intel processors, sometimes at the expense of performance on AMD chips. It's not quite as bad as it once was but...

          • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

            Ignore Unity100, he's astroturfing for AMD's marketing department

        • Click the link and read please before commenting. The FPS is multithreaded performance. It's refering to how many frames per second it can encode video, and PIBM is right. There is a huge difference between the two processors in those tests, eye balling it, it looks like approximately 42-50% improvement on each of them.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:16AM (#38048362)

      What I see is the 2600k, the 4 core $300 chip, matching or beating the Bulldozer, and the 3960X beating everything by a decent margin.

      You are correct in that the Bulldozer doesn't have much to worry about from the new E series as they are much higher priced and compete in a different market. What it does have to worry about is the regular SB chips, which are killing it. Even when things are stacked in what should be its favour: Heavily threaded tasks, the SB does as good or better. Then if you take many other tasks that are not as multithreaded, the SB pulls way ahead.

      THAT is the BD's big problem... Well that and the fact that the Ivy Bridge comes out in a few months. The E series is just for people with too much money. In the consumer market, the regular SB is an amazing performer.

    • So close = beats BD silly? Because I'm seeing it whomping BD in those benches, beating it by over 50% in some cases! Did you even read your own link? And you can astroturf all you want. It doesn't change the fact that BD's single-threaded performance suck dead goat ass.
  • Could this be the processor for a new Mac Pro? Or will Apple wait for Ivy Bridge.

    I've had a Mac Pro (or its predecessor) under my desk for over 10 years now; upgrading regularly. Even if its not the top selling Apple Product, its still the machine that Pros are looking for.

    • Apple uses workstation class components for their Mac Pros. In terms of Xeon CPUs, I'm not sure how Intel is going to handle it. They've had SB Xeons for awhile now, the E7-8830 is an example. They have some features you see in the new SB-E chips, some that you see in the normal SB chips. They are also a different socket from either. I don't know if they plan a separate Xeon line or not.

      At any rate, Apple is likely to stick with Xeons, that is just how they do things for better or worse. When will they do i

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      It's it's a 10-years-old "Mac Pro", chances are that it's a Power Mac G4. Even a 2010 Mac mini can easily beat that, apart from the hard drives.

      If you go from using a PowerMac G4 to even a current day Mac Pro, even the low-end Quad-Core model is going to seem ludicrously fast by comparison.

      • by CokeBear ( 16811 )

        I meant that I've had some flavor of Apple Pro product under my desk for 10 years, upgrading every 1-3 years. Not the same machine all that time

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:05AM (#38048276) Homepage Journal []

    no it doesnt. not when it comes only close with amd's 8 cores in multithreaded apps. 16 cores , becomes unmatchable.
    • That's a server/workstation CPU. Intel will be pushing out 8 core SB-E Xeons early next year. Then you can start making comparisons.
      • early next year, 12-16 core desktop dozers are out. every year, new dozers are out with more cores. that is the amd strategy.
  • The Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition finished well ahead of the second-place Core i7-990X

    I don't see any benchmark placing the 3960 more than 10% faster than the 990. How can 10%, and under, be "well ahead"? The FPS tests are all under 2% in favor of the 3960. $1,000 + Motherboard upgrade for 2%? With the Icy Bridge you will get a die reduction. This means at least you will get a power consumption drop.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller