Intel Sandy Bridge-E Core i7-3960X CPU Review

Author: MAC
Date: November 14, 2011
Product Name: i7 3960X
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Every new platform brings with it a slew of awesome new products, and LGA2011 is no different. With a new socket, a new mounting system, a new chipset, and a new memory interface there are numbers of cool products to check out.

Intel Thermal Solution RTS2011LC

Although it won’t come included with any of the Sandy Bridge-E processors, Intel will be offering the Thermal Solution RTS2011LC in the retail channel for an estimated retail price of between $85-100.

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As you can see, this is an Asetek built and designed liquid cooler, it is basically a rebadged version of their 570LC. It has 120MM fan that is capable of pushing 74CFM at 2200RPM, but it nearly always ran at an inaudible 878RPM, occasionally peaking up to 958RPM when the cores fully loaded were a sufficient time, but it remained dead silent. When plugged in the unit glows blue since there are blue LEDs in the 120mm fan and the pump housing. In our testing it added about 6W to the system’s overall power consumption figures, quite reasonable.

Surprisingly, it is compatible and comes with mounting hardware for not only LGA2011, but also LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, and even AMD’s AM3 socket. As you will see in our temperature testing section, it did a very adequate at cooling the i7-3960X.

Intel DX79SI 'Siler' Motherboard

Despite not get much media coverage and consumer love, Intel’s Extreme Series motherboard line is still going strong. The DX79SI ‘Siler’ is the latest model to join the roster, and it stays true to its roots continuing the usual black and blue design theme that Intel have used for the last 5 or so years.

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While this enthusiast-oriented model seems like a well-rounded motherboard, what we really want to show you is the new motherboard layout, with memory slots on either side of the new LGA2011 socket. Speaking of which, the mounting system is not integrated into the CPU socket retention mechanism. What the means for us consumers is no more need for any CPU or water block backplates. About time. It also adds a great deal of structural rigidity to that area of the motherboard, which is always a bonus.

We will be taking a closer look at this motherboard later on, but it's worth noting that Intel have also included a thermal probe, which fits nicely into the IHS hole that we discussed earlier.

G.Skill RipJaws Z DDR3-2133 16GB Quad-Channel Memory Kit

When a new memory interface is unveiled, the new memory kits are not far behind, and we had the pleasure of using this new G.Skill Ripjaws Z F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH kit during our reviewing period.

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This is an enthusiast-oriented memory kit with DDR3-2133 9-11-10-28 1.65V specifications. The timings might seem a little loose, but you have to consider that this is a huge 16GB kit. A few months ago, this type of highly clocked CL9 4x4GB memory kit really did not even exist, there were only slow 11-11-11 4GB modules out there.

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