Intel Core i7 4960X / 4930K / 4820K Ivy Bridge-E review: 22nm powerhouse

Intel’s new high-end CPU platform detailed and tested



Today, Intel is introducing three new processors, the Core i7 4960X, Core i7 4930K and the Core i7 4820K. These are the direct successors of the Core i7 3970X/3960X, Core i7 3930K and the Core i7 3820.

The top model is the Core i7 4960X, a 6-core processor, with a standard frequency of 3.6 GHz and a maximum Turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz. The number of cores is identical to the previous Socket 2011 top model, the 3970X, but the default speed is a little higher, 100 Mhz. As the 4960X also supports HyperThreading, the operating system will display 12 cores present. The amount of L3 cache is identical to the predecessor, at 15MB in total. Intel sells this chip to its distributors for a princely $990.

The 4930K is likewise a 6-core processor, but clocked a little lower: it runs at 3.4 GHz by default, with a maximum Turbo frequency of 3.9 GHz. The L3 cache is similarly curtailed, to 12MB. The 1K unit pricing of the 4930K is $555.

The entry-level Ivy Bridge-E processor is the Core i7 4820K, a quad-core model. It succeeds the 3820, which is also a quad-core CPU, but observant readers will have spotted a crucial difference: the new model has an unlocked multiplier, just like its six-core siblings. The old one lacked this feature, making it somewhat less interesting for those in search of the best bang for the buck in the high-end segment. The 4820K has a default frequency of 3.7 GHz, with the Turbo only mildly extending this to 3.9 GHz. The L3 cache is 10 MB.

The 4820K's price is of particular interest: Intel's distributors pay $310, just a little less than the Socket 1150 Haswell top model, the quad-core i7 4770K. The 4820K has several advantages in this comparison: it runs at a higher stock speed, but also has a quad-channel memory controller and more PCI-Express lanes. The 4770K on the other hand uses motherboards that will be somewhat cheaper on average, while the Haswell architecture contains several improvements missing in Ivy Bridge-E. For pure processing power in the shorter term, the 4820K might just compare very favourably indeed.

Just like their predecessors, all three of the new processors contain a quad-channel memory controller. The maximum supported memory speed has been raised from 1600 to 1866 Mhz though. Just like the previous generation, the new Socket 2011 chips have a 130W TDP. However as we will see later on in this review, the actual power consumption is significantly lower.

As mentioned, all three models are fully unlocked, as signified by the -K in the model number. Overclockers are therefore free to experiment with both CPU and memory multipliers to achieve the best possible performance. Another thing worthy of note is that Intel sells these processors without a boxed cooler.

ProcessorKlokfreq.Max. TurboCoresL3 cacheMemoryTDPSocket1k unit price
Core i7 4960X 3.6 GHz 4.0 GHz 6 15 MB quad channel DDR3-1866 130W 2011 $990
Core i7 4930K 3.4 GHz 3.9 GHz 6 12 MB quad channel DDR3-1866 130W 2011 $555
Core i7 4820K 4.7 GHz 3.9 GHz 4 10 MB quad channel DDR3-1866 130W 2011 $310
Core i7 4770K 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz 4 8 MB dual channel DDR3-1600 95W 1150 $317

Intel Core i7 4960X Boxed

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