It's as clear as it ever was, Intel remains king in the land of CPUs. No one makes faster processors than Intel. If there was any discussion before about which CPU is faster - Core i7 990X or the Core i7 2600K - it has come to an end. The Core i7 3960X and 3930K combine the extra cores of the 990X with the architectural improvements of the 2600K, completed with quad channel memory and an integrated PCI-Express 3.0 controller. The end result is an incredibly fast processor.
Of course we can complain about the price, but in reality it is no different than it was before. The fastest Intel Extreme Edition processors have always cost around £800 (when AMD still played along it also asked for a similar high price) and it's the same this time around. If you want to be the guy with the fastest processor on the block, you're going to have to expect to fork out some money though, but that has always been the case, and most likely won't change any time soon.
The 3930K, which you can find for much less than £500, is the more exciting of the two. The difference in performance is minimal, while the price difference is quite big. Not only that, the 3930K lent to us by Tones.be could even overclocked better than the 3960X. It is a shame, however, that there isn't an even more affordable version for around £200 like when the Socket 1366 platform was launched. The Core i7 920 was a big hit back then. For that segment Intel now sells the Core i7 2600K and 2700K.
The graphs speak for themselves. The Socket 2011 platform is the fastest of the fast, best of the best. From now on it will be THE platform for die-hard overclockers and true hardware fans.
Just one question remains...will core seven and eight ever be enabled?