Ivy Bridge was well known, just not in a good way, for its overclocking ability. We noted how sharply temperatures rose when frequencies were increased above factory recommendations in our i7 3770K review. Performance scaled well but, even with a decent aftermarket cooler, only did so while close to the boiling point of water. As Ryan described it,
To be fair, the 1.3v setting for this processor is on the upper limit of what you should be using according to many reports. The 22nm process is great for low power consumption but apparently not great for overclocking – higher voltages result in much higher temperatures than what we would have seen on Sandy Bridge.
…and a 24% boost in TrueCrypt. Pretty impressive results actually. But things are getting HOT under our Corsair H80 as it was unable to keep the CPU from breaching the 80C mark.
According to a roadmap received by VR-Zone, the pinnacle of Ivy Bridge-E until at least Q2 2014 will be the Core i7-4960X which, last month, failed to excite enthusiasts when benchmarks leaked. The story kept true from mainstream: it remains in Sandy Bridge-E's ballpark but requires less power. I am sure that Amazon Web Services will be thrilled…
We have wondered if Intel intends to punt this launch, fulfill commitments to Socket 2011 and nothing more, in preparation of Haswell-E. We may never see the i7-4960X overthrown, Xeon notwithstanding, until after the socket is retired.
But, now, we get to the hopeful news.
Unlike the prior generation, Sandy Bridge-E, the i7-4960X will not be a crippled Xeon architecture with disabled cores. While still a 6-core part, it will be so natively. Previously, the 6-core Sandy Bridge-E was an 8-core product with two disabled. This is an advantage because, assuming the locked cores could never be restored, their absence should allow greater overclocking headroom. Factor in the quad-channel DDR3-1866, which itself should have decent overclock potential, and users might have more room to be enthusiastic enthusiasts.
Overclocking capacity was the biggest unknown from last month's leaks. It is now looking a little more hopeful, at least for those with Sandy Bridge-E and an intent to replace their CPU before their motherboard.
And the pricing…?
According to the above table, originally from VR-Zone, the top two Ivy Bridge-E SKUs are expected to come in cheaper by $50-$70 than the Sandy Bridge-E models they retire. The quad-core i7-4820K is the exception, being priced within $5 of its ancestor.
Ivy Bridge-E is expected to launch in just a couple of months.