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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 Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:21AM (#38047916)

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

    $1000 processor wins!

  • A bit underwhelming (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:25AM (#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.

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

    by wildstoo ( 835450 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:29AM (#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.

  • Re: Cough (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:34AM (#38047998)

    Trying to future proof an Intel based motherboard is pointless. Considering this new socket replaces the LGA 1155, which is less than a year old, in an ever decreasing release interval, I would estimate this socket will be obsolete by next spring, summer at the latest.

  • Re: Cough (Score:5, Informative)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:44AM (#38048066)

    It doesn't replace LGA1155 it replaces LGA1366, which is 3 years old. These chips are server and workstation level chips.

    Intel's next desktop architecture is called Ivy Bridge, will be released in the first 3 months of next year, and will be using LGA1155. Ivy Bridge E will use LGA 2011. Only in about 20 months time (by which point LGA1155 will be 3 years old) will Haswell come out on a newer socket.

  • Re:Socket (Score:5, Informative)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @09:47AM (#38048110)

    In this instance, no, this is a new socket, replacing LGA1366. Next year though intel will release new desktop CPUs based on the current LGA1155 for desktops.

    Intel actually don't release things on new sockets as much as people think. Every tick/tock pairing has one desktop socket, and one server socket, this is the server socket to go with LGA1155's desktop socket. The tock to come (Ivy Bridge) will also use LGA1155 for desktops and LGA2011 for servers.

    This is much the same as has happened before: Nehalem introduced LGA1156 and LGA1366, westmere reused them; Conroe introduced (properly) LGA775 and LGA771, Arandale reused them.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:19AM (#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.

  • Re: Cough (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:02AM (#38048902) Homepage Journal

    The result will be that you've spent $300 less, you've got machines that are reasonably current for 4 years, and the system you get out at the end is faster.

    You're also sending twice as much to the garbage pile.

    I know this isn't a consideration for most, and it's all but encouraged through the new "disposable electronics" thing that's crept up over the last decade, but at some point we need to consider that some considerations extend beyond the financial, even when talking about buying consumer goods.

    For instance, I know people that buy a new printer every time their starter ink runs out because it's still cheaper than buying replacement ink cartridges. Three times a year they're throwing a perfectly good printer into the trash. Yeah, it saves them money, but does that really make it right to throw it in a landfill? I have a hard time saying yes.

    Maybe if we required manufacturers to subsidize the disposal of their goods when such goods are non-biodegradable it would help do something to eliminate the whole "designed for the dump" phenomenon?

    A machine that was bleeding-edge two years ago is still quite powerful today for the majority of people out there. Also, not every server in the rack has to be equal. There are plenty of less-demanding but still important roles that two year old machine can fill when it is kicked down a notch. I'm sure the "weakest link" hardware can be put to good use elsewhere when upgrade time rolls around. I know I consider the mobo-CPU combo as a unit now, rather than thinking "I can upgrade the CPU later". Maybe I can and maybe I can't, but it doesn't matter that much. So long as I have room to boost RAM and storage, I can extend the useful life of the hardware a great deal. It just may not be my fastest, l33t3st system any more. At worst, I can give the machine away -- my 3 year old secondhand hardware is generally as good as most people would buy off the shelf new, and I already have a good idea what it does best.

  • Re:Socket (Score:3, Informative)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:43PM (#38050006)
    It ain't (necessarily) an Intel conspiracy to force you to fork out more cash for a new socket when an old one might have worked, since they'd simply be leaving the field open to AMD if that were the only reason (AMD's greatest selling point is the ability to leverage on previous generations). The reasons are technical - when a die undergoes die shrinks, there is also less area for the same number of signals, making it pad limited. Also, die shrinks need more power and ground pins even as the real estate available for such pins are reduced. As a result, the newer processors sometimes may have to undergo an I/O interface overhaul, in order to accommodate the same essential signals into fewer pins, and also drop any pins that can be eliminated.

    That is what one is seeing above - when Intel went from 1156 and 1366 to 775 and 771, reason for it was undoubtedly a reduction in the die size, and hence the number of pads that could be connected to the package. It doesn't make sense to retain the same old package, b'cos the extra 400-600 odd pins that are not being used simply add to package cost, which then percolates downstream. As a result of these changes, Intel is able to offer a complete system cost down compared to previous generations, albeit w/ different form factors. Of course, the price for that is that you can't insert a Conroe into a Nehelam socket.

    One may then wonder - how come the i7 comes in a larger package w/ 2011 bumps? Chances are that using 6 cores this time has increased the die size, eliminating the pad limitations, while the extra Vdd and Vss lines are needed, or that it is 6 different processor dies on a single multi-chip package. Either way, the larger package is required.

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon