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At $1569 US RRP ($2600 AUD street), the i7 6950X may be Intel’s most expensive consumer processor ever.

While the market is slowly getting used to expensive graphics cards and has been used to expensive server processors which can cost up to $5000 each, the concept of a ultra-enthusiast/high-end consumer CPU exceeding US$1000 has hit a sore nerve with some users.

For the launch of Intel’s latest extreme edition CPU, we discuss why the new flagship i7 costs the same as a crappy used car and what benefits it brings to the new trend of ‘mega-tasking’, plus we explain what is probably the key new feature for Broadwell-E, Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.

 

Specifications

Utilising 14nm Tri-Gate 3-D Transistors (Intel’s own tradename for industry-wide FinFet Transistors), the firm has added two to four additional cores across most of its Xeon E5 version 4 product stack (Codename Broadwell-EP) and to the flagship i7 for this generation, the 6950X (Codename Broadwell-E) while maintaining the same 140-watt TDP and clock speeds.

 

Broadwell-E and Haswell-E CPU packagesMeet the family, almost fifteen years of high end Intel Processor Technology. Intel claims the strange looking heat spreader on Broadwell-E/EP is due to the need to fit the large number of cores possible using their 14nm manufacturing process.

For Haswell-E, we had three parts launch and for Broadwell-E in 2016 we have three parts launch which supercedes the existing Haswell-E chips directly, plus the new 10 core flagship.

 

Desktop CPUs for Socket LGA 2011-3/X99 Chipset
DateModelBase
Speed
(GHz)
Max
Turbo
Boost
Speed
(GHz)

Cores/
Threads

Cache

PCIe

Lanes

Memory
Support
(Quad
Channel)

Intel
MSRP
$ USD
Q2’2016 – NEW Core-i7 6950X 3.0 3.5 10/20 25MB 40 DDR4-2400 1569
Q2’2016 – NEW Core-i7 6900X 3.2 3.7 8/16 20MB 40 DDR4-2400 999
Q3’2014 Core-i7 5960X 3.0 3.5 8/16 20MB 40 DDR4-2133 999
Q2’2016 – NEW Core-i7 6850K 3.6 3.8 6/12 15MB 40 DDR4-2400 587
Q3’2014 Core-i7 5930K 3.5 3.7 6/12 15MB 40 DDR4-2133 583
Q2’2016 – NEW Core-i7 6800K 3.4 3.6 6/12 15MB 28 DDR4-2400 412
Q3’2014 Core-i7 5820K 3.3 3.6 6/12 15MB 28 DDR4-2133 389

A disclaimer on the 'Base Speed' listed in this table. It is the processor's minimum advertised speed and not activated in typical use. We explain why later in this review.

6950X is the first ten core consumer CPU on the market (AMD’s FX enthusiast processor which uses a shared core design is still at 8) and apart from this fact, 14nm Tri-Gate and a slight clock increase across the i7, Intel have added a few knobs and dials to make the new product a little more appealing to the power user community.

broadwell-e 10 core die layout

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