Intel's Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition hits the UK
November 15, 2012 // 11:11 a.m.
Intel has kept to its promise of a mid-November launch date for its latest 'Extreme' enthusiast chip, revealing details of the Core i7-3970X processor which it hopes will be tempting those with money to burn.
Sitting in the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition family of LGA2011 chips, the Core i7-3970X - officially launched earlier this week, bang on schedule - boasts six cores running at 3.5GHz with a Turbo Boost speed of 4GHz. The 64-bit chip features Hyper Threading for executing up to 12 simultaneous threads, packs 15MB of L3 cache alongside 256KB of L2 cache and 32KB each of instruction and data caches for each processor module.
As an Extreme Edition, the chip boasts an unlocked clock multiplier, allowing those who don't mind risking a processor that costs more than most people's entire computers to easily overclock the chip from its stock 35x setting. Those doing so, however, would be advised to watch its temperature: the hex-core chip features an eye-watering 150W thermal design profile (TDP,) making it one of the hottest-running Intel chips on the market today.
Internally, the architecture of the Core i7-3970X may come as a disappointment: rather than the latest Ivy Bridge design, the chip is based on the previous-generation Sandy Bridge platform. As a result, it's lacking some of the performance improvements enjoyed by Ivy Bridge parts, and its 32nm processor size may be contributing to its impressive heat output.
Nevertheless, Intel is positioning the chip as an upgrade for those running the Core i7-3960X chip, offering 200MHz faster stock clock and 100MHz faster Turbo Boost speed, but at a cost of 20W extra on the TDP.
The chip also comes with a new motherboard platform, the Intel Extreme Series Desktop Board DX79SR. Codenamed 'Stormville,' the board includes room for eight memory modules for up to 64GB of system RAM, three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots with support for Nvidia's SLI and AMD's CrossFireX technology, and various features designed to appeal to overclockers.
With the chips now available in the channel, retail pricing is confirmed at the £800-£830 mark depending on your chosen supplier, with the Stormville board coming in at around £230-£250.