To provide you with an overview on New And existing technologies, hopefully helping you understand the changes in the technology. Together with the overviews we hope to bring topical issues to light from a series of independent reviewers saving you the time And hassle of fact finding over the web.
We will over time provide you with quality content which you can browse and subscribe to at your leisure.
Intel Core i7-6950X and Broadwell-E
The Intel Core i7-6700K has sated the appetite of enthusiast gamers since August 2015, but if a quad-core chip just doesn't tickle your fancy, you might have been twiddling your thumbs in anticipation of a new HEDT (High End Desktop) part.
It has been a while since Intel last paid attention to this particular segment - the Core i7-5960X will soon be celebrating its two-year anniversary - but the wait for something bigger and better is finally over with today's launch of the flagship Core i7-6950X amid a range of new Broadwell-E processors.
Intel's '-E' range, also known as Extreme, is home to CPUs with six or more cores. The latest iteration, based on a fifth-generation Broadwell architecture, repurposes the existing LGA2011 v3 form factor (meaning compatibility with current X99 motherboards) and arrives in a choice of four parts that range in price from $412 to $1,569.
Here's how the new additions stack up:
Intel High End Desktop (HEDT) Processors
|Model||Cores / Threads||Base Clock
|Cache||PCIe lanes||DDR Support
|Broadwell-E (5th Generation, LGA2011 v3)|
|Core i7-6950X||10 / 20||3.0||3.5||25MB||40||Quad 2,400 (DDR4)||140W||$1,569|
|Core i7-6900K||8 / 16||3.2||3.7||20MB||40||Quad 2,400 (DDR4)||140W||$999|
|Core i7-6850K||6 / 12||3.6||3.8||15MB||40||Quad 2,400 (DDR4)||140W||$587|
|Core i7-6800K||6 / 12||3.4||3.6||15MB||28||Quad 2,400 (DDR4)||140W||$412|
|Haswell-E (4th Generation, LGA2011 v3)|
|Core i7-5960X||8 / 16||3.0||3.5||20MB||40||Quad 2,133 (DDR4)||140W||$999|
|Core i7-5930K||6 / 12||3.5||3.7||15MB||40||Quad 2,133 (DDR4)||140W||$583|
|Core i7-5820K||6 / 12||3.3||3.6||15MB||28||Quad 2,133 (DDR4)||140W||$389|
|Ivy Bridge-E (3rd Generation, LGA2011)|
|Core i7-4960X||6 / 12||3.6||4.0||15MB||40||Quad 1,866 (DDR3)||130W||$999|
|Sandy Bridge-E (2nd Generation, LGA2011)|
|Core i7-3970X||6 / 12||3.5||4.0||15MB||40||Quad 1,600 (DDR3)||150W||$999|
Notice something special? Yep, you got it, the Core i7-6950X is the first consumer Intel CPU to feature 10 physical cores. The increase in core count alone suggests a 25 per cent boost in performance over previous-generation parts, yet the use of the Broadwell architecture also guarantees an improvement in each new chip's instructions-per-cycle throughput.
More cores mean more cache, with the Core i7-6950X packing a whopping 25MB, yet Intel has managed to package everything into the same 140W TDP that ultra-high-end users have become accustomed to. Official memory support, meanwhile, has been cranked-up a notch to DDR4-2400, and all Broadwell-E parts pack Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, through which performance is increased further by assigning certain applications to the fastest available cores.
Multi-threaded workloads in particular stand to benefit from the Broadwell-E portfolio, however there is a proviso attached to the range-topping Core i7-6950X in the form of a prohibitive $1,569 price tag. That's 57 per cent higher than any previous HEDT processor launch, but then again, this is a unique 10-core proposition and there's nothing else quite like it in the consumer space.
Is the Core i7-6950X the ultimate processor? Well, that depends, and it really isn't as clear cut as the 10-core positioning would suggest. The chip's peak 3.5GHz speed pales in comparison to the 4.2GHz available to the Core i7-6700K, and the latter enjoys the benefits of the very latest Skylake architecture.
Test results from leading benchmark sites highlight the fact that the quad-core Core i7-6700K remains quicker than the deca-core Core i7-6950X in single-threaded workloads such as number-crunching PiFast, pictured above. Then again, single-threaded tasks aren't the Core i7-6950X's raison d'etre...
This is of course a chip that's best suited to multi-threaded workloads, and the Cinebench test is a perfect showcase of the processor's potential. It's a staggering 99 per cent quicker than Core i7-6700K in this scenario, and over 30 per cent faster than the previous-generation Core i7-5960X. The bar has officially been raised.
Intel has cemented its place as the chief provider of high-end desktop processors with the launch of four new Broadwell-E solutions. Spearheaded by the 10-core, 20-thread Core i7-6950X, the new range has no performance peer in multi-threaded benchmarks and is priced accordingly.
While the 8/10-core composition isn't ideally suited to everyone - gamers in particular may find a quad-core part with higher frequency a better bet - there's fundamentally nothing else on the market as powerful as Broadwell-E. Want the ultimate processor for your next PC? Core i7-6950X is the name.