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October 31, 2012

Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition -E CPU Now Selling

Since AMD and ARM both made world-shaking announcements this week, Intel decided to do something itself, though we had to find out about it through sources other than its newsroom.

Assuming the report on MyDrivers is true, the Santa Clara, California-based chip giant has begun shipping the Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition central processing unit.

It is basically the strongest desktop CPU that Intel has released so far, even though it is not based on the Ivy Bridge (third-generation Core) architecture, but the Sandy Bridge-E design.

Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition is a six-core chip with a base clock speed of 3.5 GHz and a Turbo Boost performance of 4.0 GHz.

This much we already know, of course. While Intel has only now started shipping the processor, in a large, black box, its specifications were revealed quite some time ago.

Still, we will summarize them again. Since this is the strongest Intel consumer chip, the information bears repeating.

First off, Hyper-Threading is supported. That means that, while the chip does have "only" six cores, a PC can function as if it had 12.

The cache memory is divided between Level 2 and 3. For the former, 256 KB are available to each core, while the L3 cache is of 15 MB (shared).

Moving on, the integrated memory controller supports quad-channel DDR3 RAM, for up to 128 GB. It makes us wonder if any motherboards will actually enable the newcomer to work at its best.

Finally, the thermal design power is of 150W, which is 20W higher than that of the previous flagship unit, Core i7-3960X.

All in all, it is a mighty chip, one that hasn't been overclocked as massively as AMD's eight-core Vishera FX-8350, but which outmatches it in everything easily. Then again, Sandy Bridge-E is also much more expensive, so the comparison isn't altogether fair.