Intel released its new i7 5960X and its companion X99 chipset with the latest DDR4 memory support to take on the enthusiast’s hunger for performance. Comes a whopping 8 cores and 20MB L3 cache from the CPU, and the latest DDR4 memory support on the X99 chipset motherboard which makes the dynamic duo the crowning king in the consumer market – theoretically that is.

So does that makes the Haswell-E and X99 the best system to go with if my Haswell 1150 isn’t giving me the performance that I’ve dreamt of? Not quite, as switching from the Haswell 1150 to Haswell-E 2100-v3 isn’t going to be easy and the cost isn’t going to be friendly to your wallet, especially when the CPU, motherboard and RAM costs as much as a finely build Haswell 1150 system.


*Huge thanks to Intel for sending us a sample of the Haswell-E i7 5960X to aid us with today’s performance review.

Comparison Chart

Code Name  Haswell  Devil’s Canyon  Haswell E
Processor Number i7-4770K i7-4790K i7-5960X
Cache 8 MB Intel® Smart Cache 8 MB Intel® Smart Cache 20 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Lithography 22 nm 22 nm 22 nm
# of Cores 4 4 8
# of Threads 8 8 16
Processor Base Frequency 3.5 GHz 4 GHz 3 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz 4.4 GHz 3.5 GHz
TDP 84 W 88 W 140 W
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 32 GB 32 GB 64 GB
Memory Types DDR3-1333/1600 DDR3-1333/1600 DDR4-1333/1600/2133
# of Memory Channels 2 2 4
Max Memory Bandwidth 25.6 GB/s 25.6 GB/s 68 GB/s
ECC Memory Supported ‡ No No No
Processor Graphics ‡ Intel® HD Graphics 4600 Intel® HD Graphics 4600 None
Graphics Base Frequency 350 MHz 350 MHz
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency 1.25 GHz 1.25 GHz
Graphics Video Max Memory 1.7 GB 1.7 GB
Intel® Quick Sync Video Yes Yes
Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology Yes Yes
Intel® Insider™ Yes Yes
Intel® Wireless Display Yes Yes
Intel® Flexible Display Interface (Intel® FDI) Yes Yes
Intel® Clear Video HD Technology Yes Yes
# of Displays Supported ‡ 3 3

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 1

The Haswell-E i7 5960X

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 2

Compared to the previous generation Intel 2011 socket CPU, the IHS on the Haswell-E i7 5960X now comes with a larger surface.

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 3

The bottom of the CPU appears to have a less dense capacitors compared to the previous generation 2011 socket CPU.

Motherboards

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 4

The Haswell-E might be a 2011 socket CPU, but do note that there are differences between 2011-V3 and 2011 – it will not work on X79 chipset motherboards. In other words, upgrading to the Haswell-E CPU requires an upgrade to X99 chipset motherboard no matter what system you were on before.

Memory

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 5

As the Haswell-E only will work on X99 chipset motherboards, DDR4 memory is the only choice of memory you can go for because DDR3 memory will not fit in the memory slots of X99 chipset motherboards.

Performance Overview

Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Nepton 240M
CPU Intel Core i7 5960X
Motherboard ASUS X99 Deluxe
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB
Primary Hard Drive Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200
Chassis Vector Bench Case

With everything set for the X99 configuration as above, we’ve conducted the following test with the Haswell-E i7 5960X CPU at factory clock speed and overclocked to 4.5GHz with Cooler Master Nepton 240M as the CPU cooler and ambient temperature of ±30°C.AIDA64 Memory Benchmark

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 6

For memory benchmark, we’re seeing at least 50% improvement on DDR4 compared to DDR3.

Cinebench R15

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 7

As for Cinebench R15, the Haswell-E i7 5960X easily takes the lead with twice as much as the score for both 1150 socket CPU.

SuperPi 1.5 Mod 32M

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 8

When it comes to SuperPi, having more cores doesn’t gives you any advantages in getting a better result. In this test, the 1150 socket i7 4790K seems to have a slight upper hand here, leading the race with 2 seconds away.

WinRAR Compression

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 9

In this test, we compress a MKV movie file with the size of 2.3GB with WinRAR and recorded the total time taken for the file to be compressed into a RAR extension file. The Haswell-E i7 5960X lead the race with fastest compression that took only 60 seconds.

X264 FHD Benchmark

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 10

The X264 FHD benchmark simulates video encoding from MKV video file with the size of 172MB to H.264 to see how fast a CPU can encode. The i7 5960X overpowered both i7 4770K and i7 4790K by having frames result twice as much as the result of both 1150 socket CPU, leaving the 1150 socket CPUx to bite the dust.

Final Thoughts

The Haswell-E i7 5960X is indeed a good performer but things doesn’t seem to go well when it comes to stability.

We’ve confirmed the result with other overclockers and it appears that none of us were able to produce a result that is able to survive Prime95 stress test for long. So here comes the verdict; Upgrading to the latest Haswell-E i7 5960X and Intel X99 Chipset motherboard isn’t a bad idea as gives you the advantage of better overall performance but you might want to look into the total cost of migration that is just too overwhelming and not to mention the stability issue that we’ve experienced. Finally, if you’ve prepared a huge sum of cash to build a monster rig for your work that requires the juicy 8 core processing power with zero interest in pushing the CPU to its limit, the Haswell-E i7 5960X is the CPU that might be worthwhile to consider for. Pros

  • Juicy 8 core and 20MB L3 Cache
  • Decent overclocking capability
  • Great performance out of the box
  • Support the latest Intel X99 chipser motherboards and DDR4 Memory

Cons

  • Overclocking is much difficult due to stability issue
  • Incompatible with Intel X79 chipset motherboards and DDR3 Memory
  • Hefty price tag

Quick Overview on the Intel Haswell-E i7 5960X 11


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