Intel Releases Core i7 ''Sandy Bridge-E'' Processors
Intel today released its Core i7-3000 series processor family, codenamed "Sandy Bridge-E". These new processors, along with the new Intel X79 chipset, make up for an entirely new platform. The processors are an upscale of the Sandy Bridge architecture found on chips in the LGA1155 package. The Sandy Bridge-E silicon measures 20.8 x 20.9 mm, with a humungous transistor count of 2.27 billion. In its Core i7-3000 configuration, the silicon has up to 6 cores, up to 15 MB of L3 cache, four DDR3 memory channels, and 40 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes ("some" devices "may" support Gen 3.0, Intel's words).
Sandy Bridge-E has the same instruction set as Sandy Bridge, which includes SSE up to version 4.2, AVX, AES, and features Turbo Boost 2.0, HyperThreading. It's the memory controller that's complete upscale. It features four independent 64-bit paths to DDR3 DIMMs, making it a quad-channel DDR3 IMC. DDR3-1600 MHz is natively supported. There are three models, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition leads the pack with a clock speed of 3.30 GHz, 3.90 GHz top Turbo Boost speed, and 15 MB of L3 cache. It has 6 cores and 12 threads with HTT enabled. This chip has all its multipliers unlocked and is geared for overclocking. It is priced at US $990 in 1000 unit tray quantities, though retailers might draw a decent margin for the boxed parts.
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