Intel has launched its long-awaited Sandy Bridge E processor today, which sport six Hyper-Threaded cores and a quad-channel memory controller.
The new CPUs are priced between £455 and £815 inc VAT ($555 to $990 ex tax) with the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition demanding top dollar for its unlocked multiplier and 15MB of Level 3 cache. Combined with motherboard prices mostly in excess of £200 and a quad-channel memory kit, an LGA2011 system is a pricey PC.
The cheaper Core i7-3930K also has an unlocked multiplier, but only has 12MB of Level 3 cache rather than the 15MB of the Extreme Edition. It's also clocked at 3.2GHz (Turbo Boosting up to 3.8GHz) rather than 3.3GHz (Turbo Boosting to 3.9GHz).
A third LGA2011 CPU will launch in the first three months of next year too. Dubbed the Core i7-3820, it will be a quad-core Hyper-Threaded CPU clocked at 3.6GHz (boosting to 3.9GHz) with 10MB of Level 3 cache.
LGA2011 motherboards are also worth talking about too - to cater for the CPU's quad-channel memory controller, the DIMM slots are now located either side of the CPU socket in four- or eight-socket configurations. The large, 2,011-pin CPU socket has a metal backplate with threaded holes to provide a firm fit for CPU coolers; push-pins are finally banished.
However, this also means that most CPU coolers aren't compatible with Intel's new socket. We can confirm that Corsair's H80 and H100 coolers will work, in addition to Akasa's Venom Voodoo, Zalman's CNPS12X, Thermaltake's Frio Advanced and the Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Pro.
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Click to enlarge
Be Quiet! has told us that it will be offering free LGA2011 compatibility kits that mount to its existing coolers (seen above), worth bearing in mind if you currently own one of it's Dark Rock
coolers and plan to upgrade to LGA2011. We'll have more information, including who to contact at Be Quiet! in the next few days.
Check out our Intel Sandy Bridge E review