Final Words

I remember writing a tepid conclusion to my Sandy Bridge E review almost two years ago. At the time, both the LGA-2011 and LGA-1155 platforms were on the same architecture - Sandy Bridge. My conclusion ultimately boiled down to how much having 6 cores mattered to you. As LGA-2011 was the only way to get more than 4 cores in an Intel desktop system, if you needed the cores it was clearly the better option. For everyone else, the more affordable LGA-1155 route made more sense.

Today, the arrival of Ivy Bridge E does little to change that conclusion. In fact, compared to Sandy Bridge E, the IVB version only adds about 5% better performance, while shaving off around 20W under load. To further complicate matters, while SNB-E launched before Ivy Bridge, Ivy Bridge E shows up months after Haswell's debut for the rest of the desktop space. If you want Ivy Bridge E, you need to be comfortable with the fact that you're buying into an older architecture.


SNB-E (left) vs. IVB-E (right)

Although Haswell didn't break any records when it showed up on the desktop, there are definitely situations where it is clearly faster than even the fastest IVB-E SKU. Anything that doesn't make use of all six cores on a 4960X will likely be faster on a cheaper Haswell based 4770K. My guess is that this covers not only the overwhelming majority of the desktop market, but actually a good portion of the enthusiast desktop community as well.

The other downsides remain intact as well. Intel's X79 chipset remains very dated, even more so now that we have Z87 with Haswell. A fresh coat of paint and updated firmware isn't enough to hide the fact that you only get two 6Gbps SATA ports and no native USB 3.0 ports. All motherboard makers have worked around this by adding a plethora of 3rd party controllers to their motherboards, but I tend to prefer the native Intel solutions from a validation and compatibility standpoint. You also lose QuickSync support as there's no integrated GPU, although the two extra cores do help video transcoding go by a lot quicker.

In what I hope will be less than 22 months, Haswell E will likely fix many of these problems. Until that time comes, your decision is pretty simple. Ivy Bridge E picks up where Sandy Bridge E left off. If you have the money to spend and absolutely need any of the following:

1) More than 4 cores,
2) More than 4 DIMM slots,
3) More than 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes

...then Ivy Bridge E is your only option, and it's not a bad one at that. My biggest complaint about IVB-E isn't that it's bad; it's just that it could be so much more. With a modern chipset, an affordable 6-core variant (and/or a high-end 8-core option) and at least using a current gen architecture, this ultra high-end enthusiast platform could be very compelling. Unfortunately it's just not that today. I understand why (Xeon roadmaps and all), but it doesn't make me any happier about the situation. Instead we're left with the great option that is Haswell/Z87. If what you need falls outside of what Z87 can deliver then you're left with a decent, but very compromised (and pricey) alternative.

Overclocking & Power Consumption
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  • DPOverLord - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    very interesting review coming from an i7-930 O/C to 4.3GHZ makes you debate if it makes sense to upgrade to the 4930K and a RIVE.

    For those considering there is also another benchmark review of the 3930K vs I7-930 on 2, 3, & 4 way TITAN SLI GK110 Scaling at 7680 x 1440 and 7680 x 1600. Worth a look.
    Reply
  • DPOverLord - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    very interesting review coming from an i7-930 O/C to 4.3GHZ makes you debate if it makes sense to upgrade to the 4930K and a RIVE.

    overclock.net/t/1415441/7680x1440-benchmarks-plus-2-3-4-way-sli-gk110-scaling/0_100

    For those considering there is also another benchmark review of the 3930K vs I7-930 on 2, 3, & 4 way TITAN SLI GK110 Scaling at 7680 x 1440 and 7680 x 1600. Worth a look.
    Reply
  • Remarius - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Really useful - I missed that thread somehow. Reply
  • Fierce Guppy - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Should nVidia's shadowplay turn out to be rubbish then I could use that CPU for encoding recorded gameplay, otherwise there's no benefit in having a 4960X over a 4770K. It won't improve my gaming experience any. Two GTX 780s will do that. Reply
  • scorpyclone - Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - link

    This is a great article for informing us about the latest and greatest architecture and chips, anyway I too have stuck with my powerhouse system since 2006, mine is the Q9550 and P35 mobo, DDR2 second generation SSD and so forth!
    It has been rock solid and frankly I don't think I remember the last time it crashed, come to think of it it has never crashed! (...and I am able to have all my progs running plus 30 plus instances of chrome, yeah I should do something about that!)
    So there you have it, now i m looking at the LGA 2011 with X79 and maybe (If i can convince myself of the benefits of having a six core system) an i7 4920 or40, ...but will probably go with their 4 core 10 or 12 meg cache cpus...the difference in having 2 more cores is 200 bux! I don't have any problem spending 3 bills on a nice CPU, but when it comes to 2 more bills just to get 2 more cores, I really cant convince myself of that, since i can think of so many other ways to spend those two bills with more return so to speak!
    So yeah building a powerhouse of a system that costs a little more but is rock solid and still faster than 90 percent of what is out there is worth it for me, and I am sure others will say the same!
    Or maybe I can just get the better P45 chipset, and stick with this system for another two to three years!
    Reply
  • Laphaswiff - Monday, December 09, 2013 - link

    δοκοῦσι δέ μοι Λακεδαιμόνιοι μάλα δεινῶν ἔργον ἀνθρώπων ποιεῖν. νῦν γάρ φασιν ἐκεῖνοι δεῖν Ἠλείους μὲν τῆς Τριφυλίας τινὰ κομίσασθαι, Φλειασίους δὲ τὸ Τρικάρανον, ἄλλους δέ τινας τῶν Ἀρκάδων τὴν αὑτῶν, καὶ τὸν Ὠρωπὸν ἡμᾶς, οὐχ ἵν' ἑκάστους ἡμῶν ἴδωσιν ἔχοντας τὰ αὑτῶν, οὐδ' ὀλίγου δεῖ· (17) ὀψὲ γὰρ ἂν φιλάνθρωποι γεγονότες εἶεν· ἀλλ' ἵνα πᾶσι δοκῶσι συμπράττειν, ὅπως ἕκαστοι κομίσωνται ταῦθ', ἅ φασιν αὑτῶν εἶναι, ἐπειδὰν δ' ἴωσ' ἐπὶ Μεσσήνην αὐτοί, συστρατεύωνται πάντες αὐτοῖς οὗτοι καὶ βοηθῶσι προθύμως, ἢ δοκῶσ' ἀδικεῖν, περὶ ὧν ἔφασαν ἕκαστοι σφῶν αὐτῶν εἶναι συμψήφους λαβόντες ἐκείνους, μὴ τὴν ὁμοίαν αὐτοῖς χάριν ἀποδιδόντες. Reply
  • SeanFL - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    I edit video from time to time and am currently using an i7-2600k system built in May of 2011. I've been looking at the 6 core i7-3930k, but not sure if it provides enough of an increase to build a new system. Are we closer to an 8 core solution coming out under $1000 in 2014? What's on the way? Reply
  • SeanFL - Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - link

    typo, meant looking at the i7-4930k. Still wondering, is 8 core under $1k on the way this year? Reply
  • MordeaniisChaos - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    You guys should really, really include ArmA as a benchmark for CPU gaming performance, as it sees pretty much constant improvements as the CPU gets more potent. I do not understand why more sites don't use A3 for CPU benchmarking when they touch on gaming performance. Reply

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