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TekSpek CPUs
Intel Core i7-6950X and Broadwell-E

Intel Core i7-6950X and Broadwell-E

Date issued:

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 Broadwell 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
Turbo Clock
Cache PCIe lanes DDR Support
TDP Launch Price
(US 1ku)
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.

Intel Broadwell Processors

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...

Intel Broadwell Processors

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.

Intel Broadwell Box

The entire range of Intel Broadwell-E HEDT processors, including the Intel i7-6950X, are available to purchase at Scan Computers.