Recently, Intel introduced their new high-end processor platform, codenamed Haswell-E, in the shape of the Core i7 5960X, 5930K, and 5820K processors. With these being the first Intel desktop processors to feature 8 cores, along with the transition to DDR4 and a significantly improved chipset, Haswell-E is at least on paper a significant upgrade over Intel's current high-end CPUs. Within this extensive test, we will determine whether this is also the case in practice.
See also: 15 Intel X99 motherboards reviewed
Not a single hardware enthusiast will be surprised by Intel's plans to renew their high-end platform in the second half of 2014. Rumours surrounding the new CPUs, which are intended to serve as direct successors to the current Ivy Bridge-E Core i7 4960X, 4930K, and 4820K chips, have been circulating for months. As always, the new flagship model will be available in stores for some 1000 euros, whereas the entry level model for the high-end segment will have a price of between 350 and 400 euros.
As is indicated by the codename, the new CPUs are based on the Haswell architecture, which we already know from the fourth generation of Core processors, or rather, the Core i3 4xxx, i5 4xxx, and i7 4xxx chips. Compared to the Socket 1150 platform of these processors, the Haswell-E chips offer more cores, more PCI-Express lanes, and more memory channels. On the other hand, the high-end CPUs do lack an integrated video chip, as is usual. Just like the other CPUs from the Haswell and Ivy Bridge generations, the Haswell-E chips are produced using 22nm transistors.
With this new generation, two things stand out. First, the fastest Haswell-E CPUs come equipped with 8 cores, which is two more than the fastest Ivy Bridge-E chip, the 4960X. The advantage over Intel's standard desktop platform is also increased, as the fastest Socket 1150 chips only feature 4 cores. Another important difference is that this generation marks the first time that Intel makes the transition to DDR4 memory. Because Haswell-E utilizes this new type of memory, and because of this also requires a new processor socket (Socket 2011 v3), you will need to replace your CPU, your motherboard, and your memory when you want to upgrade an existing system. Intel has developed a new chipset for their new CPUs, called X99. As a result, the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers have been hard at work designing new boards over the last few months.
We tested the Core i7 5960X, 5930K, and 5820K