If you are a serious overclocker or a power user looking to maximize the potential of your new Sandy Bridge-E processor, then the ASUS Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Extreme (X79) is the definitive choice for you when it hits the shelves. We put the board together with the debuting Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU through the tests and overclocked it on air cooling to see how much mileage the typical intermediate user might get. Later this month, we will also attempt high-end liquid and LN2 cooling with this setup.
We had already covered the ASUS Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Extreme in a exclusive preview last month, so we will spend the first section of the review talking about the new LGA 2011 based Sandy Bridge-E processor and the X79 Patsburg chipset.
Top of the line Core i7-3960X – 6 Core/12 Threads, 15MB Cache, Quad Channel IMC, AVX/AES/SSE4.2/SSE 4.2 support and a whopping 40 PCI-E lanes
The new SNB-E die is a lot bigger than Intel's previous desktop offerings – no surprise as there are 2.27 billion transistors on die and six real processor cores (rather than pseudo integer/FP units). We also note with interest the 2 disabled cores – which will appear in the server Sandy Bridge-EP variants.
The SNB-E is the last of the 32nm desktop chips from Intel since Westmere. Next year, we will see the 22nm Ivy Bridge platform, which should bring significant power savings and higher operating frequencies.
Launching today is the six core i7-3960X (3.3GHz, 15MB cache) and the much cheaper i7-3930K (3.2GHz, 12MB cache). The TDP for the new chips are rated at 130W and they are poised to replace the aging Westmere based LGA1366 processors.
X79 Patsburg Chipset Block Diagram. The 40 lane PCI-E design allows for flexible multi-GPU slot configurations.
Separately available Intel Liquid Cooler (Asetek OEM)