Today Intel is launching the Core-i7 5960X codenamed Haswell-E. Like the Ivy Bridge-E chip that preceded it Haswell-E is a modern marvel and absolute powerhouse of a chip. With 20 MBs of cache, eight cores, and 140 Watt TDP the Core i7-5960K is the pinnacle of what Intel can etch into silicon. Physically the chip is quite a bit bigger than normal due the 2011 pins required to support its quad channel memory scheme as opposed to the 115x pins found on mainstream Intel sockets. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this chip is the 2012 manufacturing date listed on the front of the package. Intel has been sitting on Haswell-E for the better part of two years; polishing the chip and waiting for the right moment to strike.
One of the biggest changes from Ivy Bridge-E to Haswell-E is the jump to DDR4 from DDR3. DDR4 is still a very new memory standard and so support for it is currently very limited. As Intel rolls DDR4 out to its laptop and mainstream processors the current ecosystem issues will improve. But for now getting a hold of DDR4 in a timely manner and at a reasonable price is a challenge. In fact we’re still waiting for our DDR4 kit to arrive. So no benchmarks today. But Haswell-E’s position at the top of the desktop market is clear.
Intel believes that Haswell-E is 20 percent faster at video editing, 32 percent faster at 3D rendering, and 14 percent faster for game AI and physics operations compared to Ivy Bridge-E. For multi-GPU uses cases Intel has included 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 which should be enough for just about everyone. Intel is once again touting the overclocking capabilities of its chips and the new X99 chipset. But of course all of this will have to wait until we can actually benchmark the platform.
For now we can stare at all 2.6 Billion transistors on this 336mm2 die and wonder what the server version will look like.S|A