Intel Launches Sandy Bridge-E CPU and X79 Chipset

Those crazy engineers over at Intel are at it again. They have officially launched the followup to Sandy Bridge, the Sandy Bridge-E, along with the new X79 chipset to support it. Sandy Bridge-E looks set to bring some nice performance increases, at least at the high end. Of course, these new Sandy Bridge-E processors aren’t likely to make their way into the average person’s HTPC in the immediate future. That’s what Ivy Bridge will be for. Platform launches are always exciting, even when the codename isn’t, and even though Sandy Bridge-E is intended for enthusiast and enterprise users it is only a matter of time before some of its more interesting features such as the quad-channel memory controller and PCIe 3.0 support work they way down to the mainstream.

For the LGA2011 platform, Intel is introducing three new chips: The top-end Core 7-3960X at $990—yup, that’s $9 cheaper than the existing Core i7-990X chip (gee thanks, Intel!) that this Extreme chip is meant to replace. Intel is also introducing two other chips. The mid-tier 3.2GHz Core i7-3930K will sell for $555. Besides the lower stock clock, the chip will shed some of the L3 cache, for a total of 12MB. For the budget enthusiast, Intel has plans to release a quad-core, Hyper-Threaded Sandy Bridge-E with 10MB of L3 cache early next year.