Sandy Bridge-E and MSI X79 preview

So, turns out that Intel cannot have people in Europe stick to their NDA! Funny stuff, certainly if you know that Intel representatives have claimed to be starting lawsuits just a few years ago.

Anyways, looks like SB-E will just be a tad faster than Gulftown on average. From the scaling provided by Guru3D, it seems that a 5500MHz Sandy Bridge-E will bring us over 55k CPU score in Vantage, which requires an impressive Gulftown to match that.

As stated, this preview is as-is, none of the information in this article has been confirmed, verified or supplied by Intel. Multiple Sandy Bridge-E reviews have already hit the web, we simply followed yet kept the performance results close to NIL. That's all intended for the final launch review.

With that said, the Sandy Bridge-E platform will be a power-house and it is bound to set some new records. We will however tell you this; it will have a hard time beating X58 and Gulftown processors as the feature set and performance level has not changed that much ever since Gulftown was released. There surely is a performance benefit, but to upgrade from X58 and Gulftown (980X/990X) might not be worth it, and that's the honest truth.

In contrast to say Z68 and a Core i7 2600K processor, here again I hesitate a little to really recommend Sandy Bridge-E. See, it will require a new (expensive) motherboard and a new processor for which the top model is gonna cost you anywhere from 700 to 900 EUR (though that's unconfirmed). So that difference might be a little too much versus what you gain features and performance wise.


Regardless of how you might look at Sandy Bridge-E, it seems to be a ridiculously fast platform. With the final boards we expect to see some very interesting overclock results as well. Once the true overclockers have their hands on it, new records will be shattered.

MSI's X79 motherboard is looking promising with all the kick ass features embedded. The platform as tested comes with additional controllers, a plethora of them. So you will gain USB 3.0, SATA options and little extras like the quality component selection, overclock tools and implementation at hand.

All in all, this article is just a little preview of what's to come in Q4 2011. The Sandy Bridge-E performance is impressive, but not that different to X58/Gulftown if you leave overclocking out of the equation. If you are the proud owner of a P67/Z68 and a Core i7 2600K, you really probably will not miss out on much either, unless you really need two more cores of course.


Australia Dinos22 says:

i love how this guy rationalises his leak..... lol

whatever works for you man

United States Hondacity says:

thats a vantage monster - wow

Belgium Massman says:

It's hilarious! :D

It's the weirdest thing. The Intel Developer Forum starts and boom, exactly one site in the entire world publishes a full blown preview on Sandy-Bridge-E. When we inquire at Intel on how that is possible with an unannounced product series, all we get back are even more questions and no real answers. With a preview already out on the web, ODMs and motherboard manufacturers are as puzzled as we are. And with their help we have a Sandy Bridge-E Core i7-3960X processor in our hands. Once that was established we had the opportunity to get our hands on an MSI X79 (engineering sample) motherboard so we put one and one together and can now publish a preview as well. Thing is, we respect Intel and will not go in-depth with pages and pages of benchmarks. So be warned, today's article is a preview, not a review. It's all based on the common knowledge and information at hand on the web, and the hardware in our hands.

Australia Dinos22 says:

intel ppl are putting his future unborn great great grand kids on the blacklist list out of respect lol

Belgium Massman says:

As the article will apparently be pulled, here's a snippet of the interesting bits: [quote]Since this is a preview and do not want to overstep the boundaries of common decency we cannot and will not produce a full result list of our test suite. We are not 'that other website' that completely disregards Intel's wishes. However, in the next few pages we'll have a little fun. Nothing serious. We'll fire up two 3DMark benchmark sessions, first we take the reference / baseline results with 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11. In several test runs we'll see if we can overclock the processor a little, we'll pop in an ASUS MARS II graphics cards (review here), and see if I can shatter my own dual-GPU record. For that to happen we'll need to lock in a high clock frequency though! Anyway, here's the reference default performance. The card used is the [B]ASUS MARS II graphics cards[/B]. This is the [B]MSI X79 motherboard[/B] and the [B]Core i7-3960X processor[/B] at default reference settings. Memory is set at [B]1333 MHz C9 (Quad-channel)[/B]. The PSU used is the [B]Enermax MaxRevo 1350W PSU[/B]. OS is [B]Windows 7 64-bit SP1[/B] all patched and updated running with the latest NVIDIA WHQL drivers. [U]Manual overclocking[/U] The true guru3d audience overclocks from the BIOS and try to find the maximum stable limit. The generic overclock procedure for multiplier based overclocking is as follows: [list][*]Leave baseclock for what it is right now [*]If optional in the BIOS, increase your TDP limits of the processor to 200 Watts (by that you are allowing a higher power draw) [*]Leave your base multiplier at default e.g. 34 [*]Set the per core Turbo multiplier at a maximum of your liking, we applied an MP of 50 on all six cores [*]Increase CPU voltage, though setting AUTO might work fine, we applied 1.5V on the processor cores [*]Make sure your processor is properly cooled (we used the Corsair H100 LCS cooler at performance settings) [*]Save and Exit BIOS / EFI[/list] So these settings allow us to work at a baseline clock of roughly 3400 MHZ that can actually still throttle down to 1200MHz in idle, which helps us in power consumption. However, once the processor gets a kick in the proverbial nuts, it can turbo any or all cores towards that multiplier of 50 times that 100 MHz baseclock frequency, that's a 5000 MHz configuration. Let's have a quick look at a Prime95 stress test with all four cores active and stressed at ~5000 MHz. As you can see, you'll need a rather reasonable cooler as temperatures are on the borderline of acceptable. Then again, six-cores all at 5 GHz with a high-voltage, we didn't expect any less. At a later stage (not included in this article) we got the CPU steady at 5.2 GHz as well on all six cores...[/quote] Prime95 at 5gig [IMG][/IMG] [quote]Meet the spaghetti of wires. In our actual review later on you are going to notice how freaking much performance the overclock delivers. I mean really, it's even a little crazy to observe. In today's article we'll stick to that 3DMark overclocking session with the MARS II. Have a peek: Now, last week we tested the ASUS Mars II on a Core i7 980X (3800 MHz), that gave us 11000 points in the P score. By just switching to the Core i7-3960X / X79 platform we gain roughly 500 points. However when the Core i7-3960X is overclocked to 5 GHz, we are nearing 12000 points already. 3DMark is massively GPU dependant though, let's take 3DMark Vantage from which we all know loves multi-GPU setups in combo with fast processors. 3DMark Vantage then. So again the same thesis, the ASUS Mars II on a Core i7 980X (3800 MHz) scores 33819 points. And on the Core i7-3960X / X79 platform we close in at nearly 40K points.[/quote] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG] [IMG][/IMG]

United States Hondacity says:

nice back up move mm! lol

K404 says:

Does the Vantage graphics score scale that fast with CPU? 5.4K GPU boost from an overclocked CPU?? I'm finding it hard to picture the CPU feeding the graphics card THAT much better... but i'm not used to multi-way systems

TaPaKaH says:

SB-E samples could have been bought from sources in Asia ages ago .. a bigger problem was getting a motherboard to run it, those started appearing few weeks ago, hence you see all the leaks

Antarctica Trouffman says:

Interesting how to turn some leak in article :) Still be the same... board are starting to be ready... CPUs will be missing from Intel approval "hand" grey and black market gonna be a source for thoses CPUs... leading to ... more unapproved leak and "we will fight the sellers" tlak from Intel... Even it's getting more and more difficult to get ... still with good contact in "Asia"... Hope that we will access better leak and scores :D

Czech Republic OBR says:

Sam OCX said: SB-E samples could have been bought from sources in Asia ages ago .. a bigger problem was getting a motherboard to run it, those started appearing few weeks ago, hence you see all the leaks

exactly, i have TWO 3960X ES on the desk, but no board ... maybe in week or two ...

Belgium Massman says:

Article got pulled. So, it's a leak after all ...

TaPaKaH says:

luckily, we have backups

United States Splave says:

K404 said: Does the Vantage graphics score scale that fast with CPU? 5.4K GPU boost from an overclocked CPU??

I'm finding it hard to picture the CPU feeding the graphics card THAT much better... but i'm not used to multi-way systems

Yes beacuse its a ASUS Mars II which is like 2x580's :) single card would be less of a boost.

United States Gautam says:

They removed most of the content though.

Belgium Massman says:

Another full-blown PREVIEW of the upcoming SB-E platform with a lot of benchmarks.

Although we did not die of illustration or diagram in blocks for Sandy Bridge-E, we clearly see the architectural heritage of Sandy Bridge, a cache structure on a larger scale and the same number of cores that Gulftown. Given the target of this architecture, Intel Remote Controller PCI Express chipset to die of Sandy Bridge-E and above added a memory controller 64-bit quad channel, officially able to handle the DDR3-1600. The result is a simplified platform from the X58, better suited to handle bandwidth-intensive program memory that can be seen on the servers. However, current programs on our machines do have very little or not at all. The increase in performance between Sandy Bridge-E and Gulftown is felt on both single-threaded programs that multithreaded, knowing that it can reach up to 30% with Blender. When one makes a living with their own configuration and the purchase of a processor hexacore to 999 euros translates into tangible productivity gains, the Core i7-3960X appears to be a worthwhile investment due to its heritage Sandy Bridge. At the level of high-end, the Core i7-3930K looks like a very good compromise price / performance since its performance should be quite similar and it retains an unlocked multiplier. However, it can not overshadow the attractiveness of Sandy Bridge "midrange". The Core i7-2600K has defended very well against our Core i7-3960X pre-production: hexacore the remainder to the massively multithreaded programs, but the quad core is on a par with single-threaded programs. Add to that an i5-2500K, which is now around 180 euros and without having addressed the issue of motherboards, we already know what a socket is the most interesting for the vast majority of us. Based on the motherboard used for testing, it appears clear that the x79 will not live as long as the X58 that the new platform has lost too many features to distinguish themselves: no USB 3.0, not PCI Express 3.0 at least in the short term (and many motherboards offer the Z68) and some fairly ordinary storage are more like the x79 at P67 to a high-end chipset. Sandy Bridge E-promised performance gains so interesting server side, but he will undoubtedly much less influence on the part of individuals since the additional two cores and the extra memory bandwidth is not useful for most public programs. Intel has pulled it off so well with Sandy Bridge-E that the new high-end platform will not mark his time as Bloomfield was able to do in 2008. At this stage it is already clear Ivy Bridge will have a greater impact. In the short term, we will not fail to see what AMD has booked with Bulldozer.
Link: Google Translate:

Australia Dinos22 says:

NDA is becoming a joke

Belgium Massman says:

Not a joke, but a business model. Apparently, you should first always break NDA and then you get Intel sponsorships :D. Seriously, I do not get why ANY professional website would still care about Intel's NDA ... too funny for words.

Sweden ME4ME says:

either that, or Intel is playing it "dirty" and giving some sites allowence to put full reviews online for a few days, to draw attention away from the upcomming Bulldozer launch

K404 says:

Coolaler.... always with the latest products, always with "breach of NDA" Either he is in with Intel in tactical info leaks, or he is picking up ES on the "black market" and there isn't an NDA

Belgium Massman says:

I don't think Coolaler is signing any NDA forms for his chips, so technically he can do what he wants. Also, I think Intel is indeed allowing these small leaks to steal BD's thunder (although officially they always complain to those who leak, apparently). I don't understand how Intel can expect companies and people to take their NDA forms seriously if they sponsor those who break it. I, for one, can't help but laugh when my local contact says they're already taking some people to court for the NDA breaches (be it selling the ES chips or something else NDA related).

K404 says:

Western Vs Eastern business practices?

Belgium Massman says:

Yeah, that's probably one piece of the puzzle. The internet is global, though. There's no such thing like east and west :).

K404 says:

Yes there is. We see it in company attitudes all the time. Eastern approach is presented globally, local offices make it as western as they can.... but its still fundamentally Eastern

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