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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  • wsaenotsock - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    How does Intel's closed-loop cooling package compare to say, Corsair's or other similar products? Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    Probably within 1-2C of similar "extra wide" 120x37mm closed-loop coolers. Looks like Intel's solution is made by Asetek going by it's block and mounting design, so I'd compare it against the Antec 920 for starters. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    Still running i7-950 system (was an i7-920 back in 2008) and all I've upgraded since building it is a small bump in CPU speed, added water cooling, and installed two GTX660's in place of two GTX460's installed in 2010, which replaced the Radeon 4870x2 from the original 2008 assembly date. I've also replaced the original 500GB Seagate Boot Drive from 2008 with an Intel 160GB X25-M in 2010. Still use the same SSD to this day.

    Same motherboard, same 6x2GB G.skill DDR3-1600 modules (that cost $600 back in 2008) and same PC Power & Cooling 750-QUAD.

    I've added a USB 3.0 PCIe controller as well.

    Overall, this is the longest (5 years) I've ever owned a system that retained the same motherboard. The irony is Intel discontinued Socket 1366 so fast it wasn't even funny. It was actively supported less than 2 years, and only 2 generations of chips (using the same architecture and process) were made within a year of each other, essentially giving this socket a 15-month lifetime.

    But 5 years later, a system built on this socket is still faster than 90% of the production systems today.
    Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    Yeah, for 1366 owners, there's absolutely no reason to upgrade, especially with overclocking. At least you got one generation of upgrades, unlike 1156 owners who got completely screwed.

    P.S. The second gen upgrade on 1366 (Westmere) was a new architecture and process. They shrunk down from 45nm to 32nm and added AES instructions.
    Reply
  • Inso-ThinkTank - Sunday, January 19, 2014 - link

    I'm a current 1156 socket owner running I7 875K @ 4.2. My rig is still running strong, but I'm ready for an upgrade. Just purchase a 4960x with 16 gig of Corsair Dominator Platinum at 2400 and the Asus Black Edition mobo. Hope the spending is worth it. Reply
  • evilspoons - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    What does this have to do with chizow's comment about the closed-loop cooler?? Reply
  • JPForums - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    What does this have to do with chizow's comment about the closed-loop cooler??


    Absolutely nothing. I'm guessing it was just an easy way to get posted near the top.

    Probably within 1-2C of similar "extra wide" 120x37mm closed-loop coolers. Looks like Intel's solution is made by Asetek going by it's block and mounting design, so I'd compare it against the Antec 920 for starters.


    If I recall correctly, the 920 is 49mm thick. Also, I've found that fan selection can make more than a little difference. I would not expect the Intel cooler to match Antec's 920, given their history of racing to the bottom with cooler components. That said, it should beat the 620 and similar 120x120x25mm closed loop systems (assuming they didn't screw up the fan selection in epic manner).
    Reply
  • foursixty - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    I run a i7950 at 4.07 ghz with a overclocking thermaltake cooler, 3x 580's and 12 gb ddr, am now upgrading to the i74960x, thermaltake water 3.0 and 2 x asus gtx 780ti sli, 32 gb ddr3. the old rig is still going strong and will use it for a simulator pc as i have a g27 sitting doing nothing. Great machine and has served me well!~ Reply
  • foursixty - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    just might add for the asus sabertooth x79, i74960x, 32gb 2400 ddr3, and 2 asus gtx 780ti oc cards is a $4000 upgrade, been doing a lot of overtime so i thought i would update while i got the extra cash Reply
  • just4U - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    Corsairs closed loop and Intel's appear to be built by the same company.. Some of Corsair's earlier attempts were noisy whereas you didn't really have that problem with Intel's. Overall I think it's a pretty solid contender with very few faults. There is better on the market obviously... but it's decent for it's price. Reply

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