Intel Haswell-E Including Flagship Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition Processor Officially Launches – Locked and Loaded With X99 Boards and DDR4 Memory

Hassan Mujtaba

Today, Intel finally launches their HEDT (High-End Desktop) platform codenamed Haswell-E for PC enthusiasts. The Haswell-E platform marks the start of a new generation of the PC platform loaded with the latest X99 chip set based motherboards and the new DDR4 memory which will be the future standard for the upcoming CPU platforms. Included in the Haswell-E CPU family is the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition processor which is Intel's first 8 Core processor built for the consumer market.Intel Haswell-E Core i7

Intel Haswell-E Including Flagship Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition Processor Officially Launches

The Haswell-E platform is going to be the great platform for users who are gearing up for the next generation graphics cards and performance upgrades such as the NVIDIA Maxwell "GeForce 900 Series" and AMD's GCN based Volcanic Islands family. The Haswell-E family includes three processors; the Core i7-5960X EE, Core i7-5930K and the Core i7-5820K. Before we get into the specifications regarding the X99 chipset and new DDR4 memory, let's take a quick look at the specifications of Intel's Haswell-E processors.

Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition Processor

The Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition processor is without a doubt the most impressive consumer CPU that Intel has released yet. This is also the first native 8-Core processor from Intel which features a total of 8 Cores and 16 threads. The processor is clocked at 3.0 GHz stock and 3.5 GHz boost. The Core i7-5960X features a total of 20 MB L3 cache, 40 PCI-Express lanes, Quad Channel DDR4-2133 MHz memory support, a 140W TDP, LGA 2011-v3 socket compatibility and a price of $999 US.

Intel Core i7-5930K Processor

The Intel Core i7-5930K is a cheaper 6 core variant which shares the same Haswell microarchitecture and aimed towards the enthusiast crowd. The Core i7-5930K features 6 cores and 12 threads with a clock frequency of 3.5 GHz stock and 3.7 GHz boost. The processor features 15 MB of L3 cache, 40 PCI-Express lanes, Quad channel DDR4-2133 MHz memory support, a 140W TDP (Thermal Dissipation Power) and LGA 2011-v3 compatibility. It costs an official price of $583 US which is 55% of a single Core i7-5960X processor.

Intel Core i7-5820K Processor

The Intel Core i7-5820K is an entry level processor of the lineup featuring 6 cores and 12 threads. Featuring the Haswell architecture, the Core i7-5820K comes with clock speeds of 3.3 GHz stock and 3.6 GHz boost. The CPU also features 15 MB of L3 cache, Quad Channel DDR4-2133 MHz memory support, a 140W TDP and LGA 2011 v3 socket compatibility. There is one limitation however that the processor features only 28 PCI-Express lanes which compared to 40 PCI-E lanes on the other two processors is skimmed down however, the processor would be able to cope with 2-Way and 3-Way SLI setups easily. The Core i7-5820K costs $389 US which is $50 north of the Core i7-4790K.Intel Haswell-E Processor Lineup

Model Intel Core i7-5960X Intel Core i7-5930K Intel Core i7-5820K
Platform Haswell-E Haswell-E Haswell-E
Process 22nm 22nm 22nm
Cores/Threads 8/16 6/12 6/12
Cache 20 MB L3 15 MB L3 15 MB L3
Core Clock 3.0/3.5 GHz 3.5/3.7 GHz 3.3/3.6 GHz
Socket LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3
TDP 140W 140W 140W
Memory DDR4-2133 MHz DDR4-2133 MHz DDR4-2133 MHz
Chipset X99 X99 X99
Price  $999 $583 $389

Intel Haswell-E Core i7-5960X FeaturesIntel Haswell-E Extreme Edition Key Features:

  • 16-Way Multi-Task Processing:  Runs 16 independent processor threads in one physical package
  • Massive PCI Express Bandwidth: 40 lanes of PCIe supported through the processor
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0:  Dynamically increases the processor frequency up to 3.50GHz when applications demand more performance.  Speed when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t.
  • Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology:  Allows each core of the processor to work on two tasks at the same time providing unprecedented processing capability for better multi-tasking and for threaded applications. Do more with less wait time.
  • Intel® Smart Cache:  Up to 20MB of shared cached allows faster access to your data by enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of the cache to match the needs of each core significantly reducing latency to frequently used data and improving performance.
  • Overclocking Enabled Warning: Altering clock frequency and/or voltage may: (i) reduce system stability and useful life of the system and processor; (ii) cause the processor and other system components to fail; (iii) cause reductions in system performance; (iv) cause additional heat or other damage; and (v) affect system data integrity. Intel has not tested, and does not warranty, the operation of the processor beyond its specifications. Intel assumes no responsibility that the processor, including if used with altered clock frequencies and/or voltages, will be fit for any particular purpose.
  • Integrated Memory Controller:  Supports 4 channels of DDR4-2133 memory with 1 DIMM per channel. Support for the Intel eXtreme Memory Profile (Intel XMP) specification, revision 2.0 for DDR4.
  • Chipset/Motherboard Compatibility:  Supported by the Intel X99 Chipset

Intel X99 "Wellsburg" HEDT Chipset

This isn't just a single chip launch, its an entire ecosystem which will surround system builders in the enthusiast market. Hence, alongside Haswell-E, we are also looking at the new X99 chipset which are powering the latest high-end motherboards. The X99 chipset is going to run parallel to the CPU and linked via DMI 2.0x4 interface. The X99 chipset provides Intel High-Definition Audio, 8 PCI Express 2.0 (up to 5 GB/s), 10 SATA III ports (up to 6 Gbps), Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13.1, 14 USB ports (6 USB 3.0 / 8 USB 2.0), Intel Integrated 10/100/1000 MAC linked to the Intel Gigabit LAN Network interface. The CPU can drive up to 40 PCI-Express lanes and Quad channel DDR4-2133 MHz memory but board makers have adopted PLX chipsets on the workstation boards. The following charts gives a comparison between the X99 and X79 PCHs:Intel Haswell-E X99 Platform Overview

Item Intel X79 “Patsburg” Intel X99 “Wellsburg”
CPU Cores 6 and 4 8 and 6
Shared Cache 15 MB L3 Cache 20 MB L3 Cache
PCIe Lanes Off of Processor 40 Lanes 40 Lanes (5820K with 28 Lanes)
Discrete Graphics Configurations 2×16 / 4×8 Gen 3 GPUs through processor 2×16 / 5×8 Gen 3 GPUs through processor
Memory Quad Channel DDR3 1866 Quad Channel DDR4 2133
TDP (Thermal Dissipation Power) 130W 140W
Socket LGA 2011 LGA 2011-v3
Maximum SATA Ports (Maximum at 6 GB/s) 6 (2) 10 (10)
Thunderbolt Capability No Yes
BCLK (Base Clock) OC Support From Chipset No Yes
Total Number of SKUs Available Three (Core i7-4820K / Core i7-4930K / Core i7-4960X) Three (Core i7-5960X / Core i7-5930K / Core i7-5820K)

The main features of the X99 chipset are detailed but the motherboards have new and improved support for the next generation DDR4 memory standard due to the Quad Channel DDR4 memory controller featured inside the Haswell-E processors. Some of the interesting features of the Haswell-E lineup are listed below:

First Desktop Platform To Feature DDR4 Memory Support

Coming to the memory controller, yes, Intel’s Haswell-E is officially the first HEDT platform to feature support for DDR4 memory. The DDR4 memory controller lies on the processor itself through which it is directly connected. The new DDR4 memory modules consume only 1.2 V of power compared to 1.65/1.5V standard with DDR3. The can feature upto 16 banks of memory and require a 288-Pin DIMM connectors which would be available on the new X99 chipset motherboards. The DDR4 memory controller offers Quad channel memory support. DDR4 would offer faster clock speeds and the Haswell-E platform supports frequencies o 2133 MHz, 2667 MHz O.C +.Intel Haswell-E OEM Builders

LGA 2011-3 Socket Supports Haswell-E Processors

Intel is also preparing the latest LGA2011-3 socket which has similar dimensions but a different ILM key pattern which allows only for Haswell-E processor compatibility. Intel adds compatibility for both their Channel DRX-B Liquid cooler and T-HPHS air cooler with the LGA 2011-3 socket for Haswell-E processors.Intel Haswell-E X99 Motherboards

Better Overclocking Support For Overclockers

Just like Haswell and Ivy Bridge-E before it, Haswell-E would retain the great overclocking features that would ship with the “K” series and “Extreme Edition” processors. Both the memory and processor can be overclocked beyond limits with unlocked turbo limits, unlocked core ratios in 80/100 increments, programmable iVR voltage, support for XMP mode, unlocked memory controller and voltage limits, native support for memory upto 2667 MHz, Unlocked PCH and PLL voltage controls and more. A single Haswell-E processor would feature 2 x16 and 3 x8 Gen 3 PCI-e support with 40 lanes and would be directly connected to the DDR4 memory controller and the Wellsburg X99 chipset. The feature set would remain the with technologies such as SSE4, AVX, VT, AESNI under its belt.

Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition

What Lies Under The Hood

Aside from being the first 8-Core processor in Intel's Haswell-E product stack, the Core i7-5960X is also the largest of them all. From the Die shot Intel sent us, we can note that the Core i7-5960X is a native 8 Core CPU unlike the 12 Core die we expected earlier. There are 8 Cores which are separated into two stacks of four by the Shared L3 cache (20 MB LLC). The DDR4 Memory controller is found at the bottom of the die while the Queue, Uncore and I/O controllers can be found on the top section. In total, the Core i7-5960X houses 2.6 Billion transistors and a die size of 335.2 mm2 which results in a huge processor.Intel Core i7-5960X vs Core i7-4960X

This translates into more computational power and better desktop performance. The slides Intel has shown reveals a 40X compute performance increase since 2003. Other performance results show 20% Faster Video Editing in 4K, 32% Faster 3D Rendering and 14% Faster Gaming physics and AI processing compared to the Core i7-4960X. In handbrake's 4K Video transcoding, the Core i7-5960X is 34% faster than Core i7-4960X with 6 cores and 69% faster than the Core i7-4790K with 4 cores. We wanted to give you the full on review but unfortunately our review kit was delayed due to certain circumstances and we have to wait till tomorrow to get our review up and going. You can still find our Core i7-5930K review with the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC and G.Skill Ripjaws IV DDR4 memory over here.

Since this is a new launch, a lot of OEM system builders will now start offering updated PCs such as the Origin, Maingear, CyberpowerPC, DigitalStorm, Falcon Northwest, NCIX PC, Puget Systems, and Alienware. While you have the option to select cooling, the enthusiast community knows that liquid cooling solutions is the right way to go with Haswell-E. Intel has their own TS13X liquid cooler from the old days which retails separately at $85-$100 US or if you are looking for something else, then you can select from Antec, Asetek, Thermaltake, CoolIT, Corsair, Cooler Master, etc. This doesn't mean you can't choose EK Waterblocks, Swiiftech and the likes, the platform is completely open and case modders will most definitely invest in a sexy waterblock of their needs.

Intel Haswell-E Processor Reviews:

X99 Motherboards List:

Intel Haswell-E Official Logos:Intel Haswell-E


Intel Core i7-5960X Processor Die:Intel Haswell-E Die Mapping H-Res

Intel Haswell-E Platform Slides:Intel Haswell-E Official_1 Intel Haswell-E Generation Compute Performance Intel Haswell-E Thunderbolt 2 Support Intel Liquid Cooling TS13X Cooler Intel Haswell-E Core i7 Retail Packaging Intel Core i7-5960X vs Core i7-4960X Intel 3rd Party Liquid Solution OEMs

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